Businesses across North Shore join forces to survive Covid-19

Businesses band together for recovery

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Sea Cliff’s small business owners are excited for the second installment of the Covid-19 recovery campaign, launched on Nov. 14 with new participants, including Sarah Regan Interiors and Warehouse 44.

Spearheaded by Suzette Lavalle, founder of lifestyle boutique Hummingbird, on Sea Cliff Avenue, the neighborhood campaign was originally developed to reinvigorate Sea Cliff’s small businesses, providing them with the opportunity not only to survive the continued challenges posed by Covid-19, but also to thrive.

“While the major devastations of Covid-19 appear to be behind us, what’s ahead is the climb towards establishing a ‘new normal,’” Lavalle said. “Since Sea Cliff is a village made entirely of small businesses, it seemed that by joining forces, we would have a much greater chance of survival.”

Of the businesses in the United States, 99.7 percent are small, and employing nearly half of the nation’s workforce, according to the Small Business Administration. During the pandemic, small businesses have been among the hardest-hit economically; many have either swiftly pivoted to survive or struggled to stay afloat.

In a March 2020 survey of 5,800 small businesses conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 41.3 percent of businesses reported that they were temporarily closed because of Covid-19. Many small businesses are financially fragile; at the time of the survey, the average business with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses had only about two weeks of cash on hand.

The pandemic changed patterns of consumption and forced businesses to find new ways of serving their customers.

“There was no question I would participate to collaborate with other businesses and show people we are here, and to think of [shopping local] before visiting the big-box stores,” said Kat DiResta, founder of K. DiResta Collective, a participant in the campaign. “I think it’s bringing a lot of positive attention to Main Street.”

The majority of businesses planned to seek funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act; however, many anticipated problems with accessing the program delayed relief, such as bureaucratic hassles and difficulties establishing eligibility.

The campaign is supported by a social media and marketing strategy that includes local media partnerships and shopping events aimed at boosting revenue for Sea Cliff’s many small businesses that are working to make their way back from pandemic troubles.

“Owners like us are here every day throughout the year putting our heart and soul into our services and can only do it with the support of our village and community,” DiResta said. “We have true, personal connections with our visitors, which make a very special experience.”

Looking ahead, Lavalle said she hopes to expand the small-business awareness campaign, partnering with community constituents and local representatives across the North Shore.

“As this moves forward, I’m feeling even more conviction that joining forces was the best strategy in creating an impactful marketing adventure for us all, paving the way towards our individual and communal recovery,” Lavalle said.

In addition to Hummingbird Boutique and K. DiResta Collective, other Sea Cliff business taking part in the campaign include: Dreams East, My Beautiful Mess, Baron Floral Designs, Artisan Jules, Peace Soap, Trois Jours, Frost Ceramics Mercantile, Deja Vu, Moonshot Emporium, Salon Solis, Glowinskin Esthetics, Lola Tucker Interiors, Restoration Oak, Coco Confections And Coffee, Sarah Regan Interiors and Warehouse 44.

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