PR- 250-11
July 12, 2011


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today presented the 2011 New York City Neighborhood Achievement Awards to 14 recipients from all five boroughs. Established in 2002, the awards honor organizations, businesses and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in enhancing New York City neighborhoods by fostering economic opportunity. Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel and Commissioner Walsh presented the recipients with their awards in a ceremony at Gracie Mansion.

“New York City is home to the world’s most vibrant, diverse and interesting neighborhoods, and in every one of them there are people taking steps to make them even better place to live, work and visit,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The annual Neighborhood Achievement Awards gives us a chance to recognize and thank some of them.”

“Revitalizing commercial corridors in all five boroughs has been at the heart of New York City’s economic development strategy under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “Tonight’s awards recognize extraordinary New Yorkers who have contributed to the growth and development of New York’s economy by bringing jobs, investment and new energy to neighborhood’s across the City.”

“We have winners from across this City’s 300 unique neighborhoods and each of them has worked tirelessly to build up their communities, create jobs and provide opportunities for their fellow New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Walsh.”


The Small Business of the Year Award:

Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop, Flushing, Queens –Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop was founded in 1933 and has been a landmark in the Flushing community ever since. Since 2007, the shop has been run by Audra Fordin, the fourth generation to operate the business and the first female to hold this position. When owner Audra took over for her dad, Bill Fordin, Great Bear started a free clinic called “What Women Auto Know” to teach how to maintain a car so that it has a longer life and needs less repairs. To date, more than 125 people have participated in the free workshop. Fordin also fixes the cars of members of her community who cannot always pay the full amount or, sometimes, anything. In the future, Fordin hopes to embrace new technology by hosting a charging station for hybrid and electric cars. She is also in the midst of developing a program to encourage young women in foster care who are aging out of the system to consider a career in auto repair.




Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958

Sarah Krauss (Small Business Services) (212) 513-6318