New Business Adventure

Only a few people know my stories of adjusting to New York life.  When I first moved here 7 years ago, I wanted to take a class at the local community college. Upon registering in person for non matriculated status, I was asked by the registrar’s office to show them my passport. Luckily I had this on me and I didn’t think it odd since there are so many immigrants here.  What became odd was she flipped through my U.S. passport looking for an entry stamp…..to the State of New York…..from Washington State….two states in the SAME country! This woman was seriously convinced that your passport must be stamped upon entry and exit between states! She accused me of “illegally entering New York!” The worst part, her supervisor even backed her up! Yeah….I never took a class.

Over these past 7 years, there have been less odd things that I’ve noticed New York does, not as much as that moment…until recently:

ImageAfter doing some extensive research and reading, I had learned the proper steps to register my new business as a sole proprietor in New York State.  Apparently, this was one thing you cannot do online.  It had to be done in person at the county clerk’s office.  All I could hope was that this office was not like the DMV.

So, I had my babysitter come over and I headed down to the County Clerks office to file my DBA (Doing Business As) certificate. The website stated that I could obtain (purchase) the proper forms at a convenience store, they needed to be notarized and then filed at the clerk’s office. I thought, convenience store?? Really?? Odd. I figured they just had the form at the office as well for free.

So after my GPS taking me on a wrong turn (we really need to update that thing) and through some scary parts of the county, I found the Clerk’s office, headed in and asked for the forms. The Clerk says this, “Okay. You need to go buy the forms at the candy store on the corner, get it notarized there (meaning the candy store notarizes the form) and bring it back along with $120 cash (apparently this county does not accept credit card).  Just head out the building and turn right. The candy store is right there.” I had her repeat this about 3 times, making myself look stupid, just to make sure she KNEW she was telling me to BUY A GOVERNMENT FORM FROM A CANDY STORE!

Really?? A candy store!?! I walk to the candy store.  Upon entering, the place looked normal.  It was a corner candy store, with a counter, display racks, etc.  I figured the forms were sitting on a rack somewhere, but no forms.  I slowly move further back the store looking carefully for a rack of government (think tax) looking forms.  Nothing!  At the back of the store I notice the display racks situated in an interesting manner.  There were two racks facing me making somewhat of a walkway in between them.  I hesitated moving further thinking this was the candy store’s “storage room” in there.  I cautiously take a step between the display racks, look right, then left.  On the left side was an office desk, computer and an Indian guy in a suit sitting at the desk.

“May I help you?” asks the man.

“Yes, I need to get a DBA form. I was told to come here.”

“You’re in the right place. Have a seat.”

All the while I’m thinking this is SO SHADY!!!!!!!!

After asking me some questions about my business and entering it into the computer, the guy prints off the forms notarizes them and hands them to me and I give him my $20.

I head back to the clerks office FULLY expecting to be given some lecture by a born and raised New Yorker (think full fledged New York accent AND attitude) about these papers being totally fake.

I step up to the window, hand the three DBA forms (yes you need three) over bracing for the impact of embarrassment. Instead, she looks at them, stamps them and says, “Great! Congratulations! You are now in business!” I said, “that’s legit…I mean it!?!” She chuckled and said, ‘Yes. Good luck! Pay at the cashier over there.”

I swear, just when I think I am getting used to the New York way of life, I am reminded that I will never quite understand this place!

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