In the aftermath of what NEW YORK mayor Michael Bloomberg has called potentially "the worst storm that [the city has] ever experienced," entrepreneurs over the Big Apple have observed varying levels of success keeping their doors open and their businesses online in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
With high winds and rain, Sandy battered the East Coast on Monday. Businesses in low-lying areas were hit the hardest because of severe flooding. NY City-based internet sites — including news sites like Gawker and Mediaite — were knocked offline after a data center transpired through the storm.
"Smaller businesses have suffered," NY governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
But as entrepreneurs have a tendency to do, owners have found creative methods for getting back to business following the storm. When power went at the west 14th Street offices of Onswipe — a platform for creating touch-enabled content — the managers headed to a hotel in midtown Manhattan where that they had usage of electricity and Wi-Fi. "Safety matters quite a bit, but we’re not letting anything, even the forces of nature, slow Onswipe down," co-founder and CEO Jason Baptiste said within an email to Entrepreneur.com.
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Another startup called Shuttlecloud barely missed a beat after losing power at its office on Chambers Street in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. A provider of cloud-based data migration software, Shuttlecloud is nearly completely run in the cloud, so its employees have already been in a position to keep business going remotely.
"It isn’t as effective as in-person collaboration, but we’ve been working together using Google Hangouts," co-founder Eduardo Fernández said within an email. "A decade ago, prior to the advent of cloud-based services, this might be a completely different story."
In nearby Brooklyn, businesses in the Park Slope neighborhood opened their doors to provide area residents a location to congregate and share Sandy stories. Anna Decanio, a co-owner of Bagel Market, drove and personally found employees to bring them to focus on Tuesday. Because Bagel Market is situated on higher ground, the store didn’t suffer damage or lose electricity. And your choice to open shop ended up being a profitable one.
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"We are actually very busy," Decanio said Tuesday. "Everybody is home because they couldn’t take the trains," that have been turn off city-wide on Monday night.
Park Slope’s Southside Coffee also benefitted from locals who stayed home from work. But also for store owner Ben Jones, making sure conditions are safe for employees and customers is important.
"The benefit of being truly a local business is that you have individuals who live nearby," said Jones. "That’s really what your location is making your judgment calls — you do not wish to be putting people ready they aren’t safe."
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