Village businesses step up

FAB Cafe employees received a small stipend for the time the shop was closed during the hurricane.

FAB Cafe employees received a small stipend for the time the shop was closed during the hurricane.

It’s easy to see much of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. But one of the biggest impacts from the storm was the loss of income suffered by hourly employees due to businesses closed because of power outages, or the inability to get to work. Businesses are not required to pay hourly employees when they are closed for business. So we here at Off the Grid had to applaud the Village businesses we heard paid their employees during the time they were closed because of the storm.

While checking out at Trader Joe’s at 14th Street and 3rd Avenue, I heard from my cashier that the company was paying employees despite the store closure. It made me wonder if some small businesses in the neighborhood were trying to do the same. The Fourth Arts Block, the organization which leads the development of the East 4th Street Cultural District, gave a stipend to the employees of the FAB Café. Cheese and pasta guru S’mac on 12th Street actually listed an appeal on their website, inviting customers to buy gift certificates to help them cover payroll.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, like all downtown restaurants, we sustained heavy losses due to spoiled inventory and loss of business, and are working with our insurance carriers to see how much we can recover. In the meantime we have decided to carry a full payroll for our staff for the week that we were forced to shutdown, but in order to do this we need your help.”

Any other local businesses out there trying to do what they can to help their employees? Let us know in the comments section. We would love to give them props here on Off the Grid. And business owners, don’t be shy. Let us know about your extraordinary business practices.

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Sheryl Woodruff was GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations until December 2014.

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