STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Island’s Veterans Discount Program, which provides a 10% discount on goods and services from participating businesses across the borough, is not only going to continue, but is expanding beyond the borough president’s office and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce — with the addition of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC).
“One thing that every Staten Islander has in common is that we cherish our veterans,” said Borough President Vito Fossella, when announcing that the SIEDC would be joining the program, which was started in 2012 by former Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “I am proud to partner with these two great organizations to provide a free service to those who have served our country.”
The Veterans Discount Program was started over a decade ago by former Assemblyman Michael Cusick.
“I think the expansion is important, because the SIEDC and the Chamber are the two largest organizations on Staten Island,” said Cusick, current president and CEO of the SIEDC. “The fact that we are doing this together … to be able to bring more people and more businesses to this program, we can really help the veterans. I think it’s a win-win.”
He added that the Veterans Discount Program now has over 200 participating retailers, including Rab’s.
Cusick, who officially took on his new role at the SIEDC last month, said he is looking forward to expanding the borough’s business climate, growing its job base, and making it a better place to live and work.
“Given the rising costs associated with inflation, this program is needed now more than ever,” said Linda Baran, president and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “This is the Staten Island business community’s way of saying thank you, today and every day.”
Fossella, Cusick and Baran were joined by members of SIEDC, small business owners, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce members and veterans for Monday’s announcement of the Veterans Discount Program’s expansion at Rab’s Country Lanes, Dongan Hills.
“It helps … believe or not, and it’s a great program,” said Joseph Miezlik, who served in the U.S. Army for six years and now runs three food pantries on Staten Island.
James A. Haynes III, CEO of the United Staten Island Veterans Organization Inc., said the discount program is “excellent,” and he is “glad they are keeping it alive.”
Haynes served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, from 1971 to 1991, and has been using the discount program for about 10 years. He added that the discount on groceries is the most useful.
“The way the prices are going up is crazy. It’s a shame what is happening. You go to the restaurant just to get a hamburger for $10, and now it’s $20,” said Hynes.
Veterans who want to participate in the discount program must first apply for a VETS Discount Card with Borough Hall. Once a veteran is verified, they will be part of the program and continually receive an annual card.
Local businesses that want to join the program need to contact the Chamber of Commerce and provide the discount that will be offered to veterans.