NEW YORK - “This is our first store and my partner and I put our whole savings into this and we were just starting to make a profit and then boom totally bombed,” Alfonso Ali Wright told FOX 5 NY.
The pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges Wright has ever faced. His company, Brooklyn Tea, only staying float because of online sales. And we all know he’s not alone. Businesses all across the city have shuttered in recent months and so many more are just barely hanging on.
Patricia Anthony owns a hat and scarf company called Wanted Designs.
“This is a hat that a lot of women wear out to church and different functions and since nobody is really going to church and nobody is going out so much absolutely has affected my business,” said Anthony.
On this Small Business Saturday, a Mobile Outreach Unit was parked in Bed-Stuy to inform and help business owners sign up for the city’s Open Storefronts Program.
“It gives them an opportunity to bring their businesses outdoors where people can shop Covid safe,” said Lynette Battle, executive director of the Bed-Stuy-Gateway Business Improvement District.
A recent survey from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce finds that about 50 percent of businesses in the borough could not pay full rent and business owners are urging New Yorkers to shop small not just on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the holiday season.
“The community has been really great to us here and as people who recently moved here we think it’s important to contribute to people who have been here for a long time and support black businesses so that’s primarily why we are out here today, we want to help out,” said shopper Sara Derr who was walking along Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce survey also highlighted some promising news— a growing number of city landlords are offering rent concessions. Still, if the pandemic continues for much longer, a growing number of businesses will also continue to shut down.
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