Friday, July 25, 2014

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Transit Strike Could Hit Small Businesses Hard

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TWC News: Transit Strike Could Hit Small Businesses Hard
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Retailers around the city are bracing for the possibility of a strike in the thick of the holiday season. NY1's Elizabeth Gerst went to one of the city's busiest shopping areas, to see how it could be impacted.

Outside Macy's in Herald Square, New Yorkers say if there is a strike, shopping will not be on the agenda.

“I doubt it,” said a New Yorker. “That's why we're trying to get it all done now.”

“I'm not going to go shopping,” said another. “There’s no transportation.”

That doesn't bode well for local retailers, who often get spillover business from Macy's. Analysts say a store like Macy's can weather the downturn, but for smaller shops, a strike could be devastating, especially at a time of year when 40 percent of their sales occur.

At Rock and Soul records, the prospect of a strike has them fretting.

“We'll have no customers in here,” said Ruben del Cruz, who works at the store. “It's going to be crazy.”

Guy Pisani owns Tony's Shoe Repair, across the street from Macy's. Like his fellow retailers, he's concerned about the potential drop in foot traffic and how his workers will make it in from outside Manhattan.

“These guys have got to get paid,” Pisani said. “If they can't get to work, they can’t get paid. If people can't make it into the city, I can't make money to pay them.”

While many big firms have teams of workers plotting contingency plans, many small businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. They say they'll deal with the strike when and if it happens.

And while some staffers said they'd consider staying home for a day or two, most say they'd figure out a way to make it to work.

“We stay home, we can't pay our bills, we can't take care of our kids,” said another business owner.

Experts say small business owners should brush up their game plans, so, if necessary, they'll be prepared to take a strike in stride.

--Elizabeth Gerst
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