HOW LOCAL GOVT CHOKES SMALL BUSINESSES TO DEATH

NYC culinary staple China Fun shutters, blaming over-regulation
www.nydailynews.com

For 25 years, China Fun was renowned for its peerless soup dumplings and piquant General Tso’s chicken.

What left a bad taste in the mouths of its owners and loyal patrons was the restaurant’s sudden Jan. 3 closing, blamed by management on suffocating government demands.

“The climate for small businesses like ours in New York have become such that it’s difficult to justify taking risks and running — nevermind starting — a legitimate mom-and-pop business,” read a letter posted by the owners in the restaurant’s front door.

“The state and municipal governments, with their punishing rules and regulations, seems to believe that we should be their cash machine to pay for all that ails us in society.”

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The Second Ave. restaurant became a beloved local mainstay, with customers bemoaning its unexpected disappearance. The Daily News hailed the soup dumplings as the best on the Upper East Side in 2015.

“So sad to learn @ChinaFunNYC closed,” tweeted fitness blogger Amanda Lauren. “I grew up on the UES and it was my fav Chinese restaurant. Pouring out a green tea for you, China Fun.”

(Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)
Albert Wu, whose parents Dorothea and Felix owned the eatery, said the endless paperwork and constant regulation that forced the shutdown accumulated over the years.

“When we started out in 1991, the lunch special was $4 a plate,” he recalled. “Now it’s $10, $12. The cost of doing business is just too onerous.”

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Wu cited one regulation where the restaurant was required to provide an on-site break room for workers despite its limited space. And he blamed the amount of paperwork now required — an increasingly difficult task for a non-chain businesses.

“In a one-restaurant operation like ours, you’re spending more time on paperwork than you are trying to run your business,” he griped.

Increases in the minimum wage, health insurance and insurance added to a list of 10 issues provided by Wu. “And I haven’t even gone into the Health Department rules and regulations,” he added.

(Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)
The de Blasio administration noted the city provides free help to small businesses. The “Small Business First” initiative helps owners save time and money while reducing the amount of paperwork.

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Free compliance advisors are available for on-sight consultation aimed at helping small businesses comply with regulations.

“The NYC Department of Small Business Services makes it easier for businesses to start, operate, and grow, including by helping businesses navigate important City regulations,” said spokesman Nick Benson.

But Adele Malpass, Manhattan Republican Party chairwoman, said the issues cited by the Wu family are common complaints.

“For smaller businesses like China Fun, each little thing that occurs makes it harder,” said Malpass. “Each regulation, each tax — you put it all together and it’s just a hostile business environment.”

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