Last month, we wrote about the importance of using PR and Communications to build buzz around important commercial corridor work – with the Commercial Corridor Challenge as a prime example. LOA has been working closely with the New York office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) on the Commercial Corridor Challenge, a program funded by Citi Community Development that provides financial and technical support to some of New York City’s most underserved and rapidly changing communities.
As part of our work, we helped put together a set of guidelines that not only informs Corridor Challenge participants about relevant New York City code and regulation requirements related to storefront improvements but also suggests best practices for these improvements. With architectural expertise from Dadras Architects, the guidelines also features renderings of potential storefronts on Bay Street in Staten Island, Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, and Fulton Street in Brooklyn.
The guidelines covers a range of storefront improvements including signage, lighting, awnings, façade and paint and color. It offers visuals of best practices in each section so that users of the guidelines are able to easily understand and implement the improvements.  

Here are some highlights of the guidelines:

  • Avoid the use of security gates to increase store transparency. If necessary, open-mesh security gates on the interior can still provide visual access for security (preferred by law enforcement) and will not be subject to alteration by graffiti.
  • Maximize the visibility of your signs without compromising transparency of storefronts.This might include illuminating signs with separate light fixtures and ensuring signage does not block doors or windows.
  • Avoid waterfall-style awnings. Retractable canvas awnings are highly recommended because they get less dirty and last longer than fixed awnings.
  • Use interior and exterior lighting to illuminate your storefront and street. Adequate lighting is a proven crime deterrent.
  • Fix broken windows and avoid paper signage. Broken or boarded windows negatively impact the overall commercial corridor and paper signage obscures the business activity from potential customers on the street.
  • Use color and painting to enhance storefront appearance. Remember to coordinate colors to fit the context of the neighborhood.
By increasing the transparency, lighting, and physical attractiveness of businesses, the Commercial Corridor Challenge program hopes to provide long-lasting benefits to participating corridors by boosting foot traffic and improving sense of safety in these areas. For more useful tips around storefront improvements, download the guidelines here!
We hope this resource will also prove helpful in rethinking and redesigning your storefront.