Many small businesses in Brooklyn are nonetheless struggling to remain afloat as town marks two years because the coronavirus pandemic began shutting issues down, a brand new survey reveals.
Whereas town took some steps to return to normalcy in 2021, solely 41 p.c of retailers and different firms reported a rise in year-over-year revenues from 2020, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce ballot of 185 of its members discovered.
In the meantime, 72 p.c of companies reported gross sales decrease than pre-pandemic 2019 ranges, the survey mentioned.
As well as, 68 p.c of retailers reported losses of shoppers in comparison with 2019, and 41 p.c of respondents mentioned they’re grappling with labor shortages, whereas 26 p.c reported having fewer workers than two years in the past.
“What our finish of the yr survey definitively exhibits is that enterprise house owners are repeatedly dealing with ongoing challenges roadblocking the actually sturdy restoration New York Metropolis deserves and is able to attaining,” mentioned Randy Friends, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
A majority — 56 p.c of respondents — mentioned they didn’t meet their post-COVID-19 restoration objectives. About 25 p.c of companies mentioned they had been unable to function or needed to shut for intervals of time attributable to shortages final yr.
Difficulties paying lease continued for 33 p.c of companies in 2021, and a few of them at the moment are in jeopardy of closing because the state lifted its 20-month pandemic-inspired eviction moratorium, in response to the chamber.
Through the top of the pandemic in 2020, many retailers had been compelled to close right down to curb the unfold of the virus and almost a 3rd never reopened.
Final yr, 40 p.c of firms decreased their hours of operation, two-thirds mentioned they carried out a tech overhaul of their enterprise mannequin, together with changing to extra on-line/e-commerce, whereas 26 p.c mentioned they modified their product combine.
The COVID-19 outbreak compelled different house owners to delay opening new bars and eateries.
Therapy Wine Bar 2.0 in Brooklyn opened in November — a yr later than deliberate — due to the pandemic, mentioned proprietor Angela Terry.
“It was undoubtedly a problem to get within the mindset and say, `We’re going to make this occur,’” Terry mentioned on Tuesday.
Gov. Kathy Hochul just lately visited her wine bar and restaurant to pitch her plan to make everlasting alcohol-sales-to-go at bars and eating places.
The struggles reported by Brooklyn retailers are a microcosm of the challenges dealing with New York’s financial system as an entire, as town and state try to emerge from the pandemic.
New nationwide employment statistics present that New York is experiencing the slowest restoration of the mainland states — with jobs nonetheless down 5.8 p.c within the non-public sector from pre-pandemic ranges. Solely tourism–heavy Hawaii was worse, minus 10.9 p.c.
New York in January had recovered almost 75 p.c of the post-pandemic jobs decline, whereas employment within the U.S. as an entire exceeded 90 p.c of the February 2020 stage, in response to U.S. Labor Division statistics.
“At January’s development fee, nevertheless, New York nonetheless received’t totally get better till the top of 2023, whereas the nation is on observe to hit the pre-pandemic stage inside this yr,” EJ McMahon of the Empire Heart for Public Coverage mentioned in his analysis of the figures.
“All of New York’s different neighboring states had been a lot additional alongside on the highway to restoration — with New Jersey within the strongest place, down simply 2.2 p.c from the pre-pandemic stage.”