Buy Local East Harlem Initiative


Buy Local East Harlem Initiative

The mission of the East Harlem Community Alliance (EHCA) is to undertake joint projects and activities designed to address the needs of the East Harlem community, and serve as a forum through which our members can create connections, share information and continue to grow and thrive in East Harlem.

One of the EHCA’s major project is the Buy Local East Harlem Initiative, which seeks to assist local small businesses by encouraging all East Harlem entities and residents to purchase goods and services in East Harlem.


According to the 2016 East Harlem Commercial District Needs Assessment published by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), over $804 million is spent outside the neighborhood each year. Institutional buyers purchase in such large quantities and frequency that even a slight change in their buying policy can cause a significant impact, thereby increasing small business sales and creating job opportunities here in East Harlem.


We want to encourage everyone in East Harlem, particularly larger organizations and entities, to support local businesses by creating relationships that will allow for the longevity of small businesses becoming suppliers. We want to create a model that is sustainable for long term success, having a positive impact on the merchant’s bottom line, increasing job opportunities and overall wellness in the East Harlem community.


Our goals are to:

  • Relationship building
  • Capacity building
  • District marketing

Strategic Plan

To track the effectiveness of this initiative our plan is to hone in on a sample of merchants and walk them through the process, ensuring they get the assistance they need at each phase of becoming a corporate supplier. In order to accomplish this goal, we will:

  • Identify products and services purchased by local anchor institutions and other entities.
  • Determine which of those products and services are currently sold by East Harlem businesses, or could easily be provided by East Harlem businesses.
  • Create an assessment of the business needs and current capacity.
  • Create partnerships with organizations, city and state agencies who can assist small businesses with enhancing operations and access to capital.
  • Assist merchants in increasing their use of free or inexpensive technology.
  • Create mentorships with established business owners and newer merchants.
  • Encourage collaborations and supplier partnerships among merchants on an as needed basis.

Marketing Approach

We want to create more than just a onetime campaign. We project our campaign #BuyLocalEastHarlem will lend itself to casting a wider net and galvanizing the local community to purchase their goods here in East Harlem by the use of social media, video and traditional print distribution.

Project Manager
Michelle Cruz

Funding for this project was provided by Citi Community Development

Support for the Buy Local East Harlem provided by: