Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Small Businesses Say Impact Of Strike Worse Than Expected

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So just how bad was business on the first day of the transit strike? If you're talking about small business, the answer generally was pretty bad. In fact, many merchants said things were even worse than they expected. NY1’s Farnoosh Torabi filed this report.

On a typical day, the line for Hacene Layachi's hot coffee and donuts street cart starts forming as early as 3 a.m., as hungry subway commuters make their way to work.

It's a business he and his family of three have banked on for the past 15 years, but on the first day of the transit strike, he said, “We lost a lot of customers. We didn't even get none."

Layachi said he lost $800 on Tuesday. He packed up three hours early and said if the strike goes on, he's not sure how much more he can take.

“This is our life. We don't have something else,” he said. “If we lose this, we lose everything."

It was a similar story at Chelsea Wholesale Flower Market. When NY1 caught up with him last week, manager Phillip Vellucci expected sales would tumble 40 percent on the first day of the strike since he wouldn't be able to make many of his deliveries in the morning.

But now, faced with the reality, Vellucci has revised that number.

“I would say [it’s] at least 80 percent,” he said. “The phone is not ringing. My walk-in crowd is not here and I haven't had one order go in today."

Around the corner in the Meat Packing District, deliveries were down 30 percent at New England Meat.

"I hope they come to a conclusion soon because it hurts everyone, from the restaurants to us," says the store’s Jonathan Kushnir.

Parking garages didn’t escape the strike’s wrath, either. One in Chelsea that is usually filled up by 1 p.m. was only 65-percent full by midday.

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce expects New York's 200,000 small businesses to be hardest hit because of the strike, since unlike the bigger players, many can't just telecommute and shuttle around their workers.

All this couldn't have happened at a worse time. With the holidays approaching this is the time of year when businesses try to make up for an otherwise slow year.

But if the strike continues, many are worried the worst has yet to come.

- Farnoosh Torabi
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