In Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Downtown Alliance Offers Square Giveaway to Small Businesses in Lower Manhattan

In Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Downtown Alliance Offers Square Giveaway to Small Businesses in Lower Manhattan

The Alliance for Downtown New York today today launched a program to provide free Square Mobile Card Readers to assist Lower Manhattan businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy ring up sales this holiday season through mobile devices. The Downtown Alliance will begin visiting affected businesses today.

Square enables anyone, anywhere to accept credit cards with a free mobile card reader that plugs into their iPhone, iPad or Android device. Square Register is the free app that serves as a full point-of-sale system for businesses to accept payments, track sales, and manage their business without a contract or additional fees.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a number of Lower Manhattan businesses have faced challenges in restoring their individual telecommunications systems, prompting the Downtown Alliance to contact Square. Square Mobile Card Reader will allow them to ring up sales this busy holiday season until their land lines are restored. The Downtown Alliance said affected businesses could also check with their cellular providers to learn about other temporary solutions.

“Lower Manhattan is a shopping and dining destination and supporting our local retailers and restaurants is core to our mission,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance. “While most of our neighborhood’s retailers and restaurants have already reopened since the storm, we want to give some added help to those that have reopened but are still getting their footing.”

The Downtown Alliance has launched the program to temporarily assist businesses as they resume all of their services. Square Mobile Card Reader is free. Businesses can sign up in minutes with Square to start accepting credit and debit card payments. Businesses pay 2.75% of the amount of each credit and debit card transaction. Funds are deposited into their bank account within 1 to 2 business days.

On Wednesday, Downtown Alliance staff members will visit a number of locations south of Chambers Street in the Lower Manhattan area to determine whether they would like to receive a Square Mobile Reader. Businesses also are encouraged to contact the Downtown Alliance’s coworking facility, the Hive at 55, to speak with Daria Siegel about the program. Siegel can be reached at 212-835-2744 or [email protected].

Founded in 2009, Square is headquartered in San Francisco and recently announced plans to open its first New York City office. You can find more information at

The initiative is just one way the Downtown Alliance is showing its strong support for small business in Lower Manhattan this week. Yesterday, the nonprofit launched the Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program to support retailers, restaurants and service providers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The Downtown Alliance contributed the first $1 million to the program which grants will be awarded to qualifying small businesses that are located within Flood Zone A below Chambers Street, and is asking others to contribute to match – or exceed – that amount. Contributors to the program already include: Goldman Sachs, Trinity Church, Citibank, The Durst Organization, The Howard Hughes Corporation, the FiDi Association, and other Lower Manhattan business leaders.

Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grants will offer support of up to $20,000 to small businesses that meet a series of requirements. Applications for Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program will be available by December 1 and processed on a first-come, first-served appointment basis, for as long as funds are available, through December 31, 2012. For further information, visit or email [email protected].

The Downtown Alliance on Monday also announced its fifth annual Holiday Shopping Campaign, which it is promoting through print and digital advertising and the release of a new 2013 Lower Manhattan Shopping & Dining Guide. Besides advertisements – in major and regional news outlets – and 40,000 copies of the Shopping & Dining Guide, the Downtown Alliance will string up 199 shooting stars and star clusters to brighten the district this coming weekend until the first week in January.