NEW YORK - The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses in New York City is hitting iconic hair salon Astor Place Hairstylists. Co-owner John Vezza says the salon frequented by celebrities and every day New Yorkers alike since the late 1940s will close the day before Thanksgiving.
"Volume is just so far down," Vezza told FOX 5 NY morning program, Good Day New York.' We are down 90 percent. We are working at 10 percent since we opened up on June 22 when they allowed us. It seems the subways are down 80 percent, office folks are not back in the offices. They're empty. A lot of residents have moved out. Walking traffic. Restaurants are also having trouble."
Less than half of the staff is working.
"It's even hard to keep them busy," said Vezza.
Two hours into opening on Monday and there had not been a single client.
"Normally we'd have 25 in," said Vezza.
Among the clientele to have cuts and shaves at the NYC institution now three generations into ownership include Andy Warhol, Kevin Bacon, Adam Sandler, Sinbad, Vin Diesel and Valerie Harper.
"She was such a wonderful person. A real steady customer. She'd give the staff tickets to go see her show," said Vezza.
The final three months of the year, usually a boom time for many small businesses thanks to holiday shopping and celebrations, looks precarious as the coronavirus maintains its grip on the economy.
Owners contending with government restrictions or crumbling demand are trying to hold on, with some creating new products and services or desperately searching for new customers. Others, however, have found they’re already well equipped to meet the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic.
With revenue so far down, it would take a "Christmas miracle," says Vezza, to remain open.
"Right now we are on borrowed time.I don't want to just run into more debt and leave people hanging."
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