NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It could be the worst holiday season ever for some small businesses near Trump Tower.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the possibilities of layoffs, salary cuts and moving away from President-elect Donald Trump’s Manhattan home loom large. City Comptroller Scott Stringer spoke exclusively with Kramer about the problem.
Trump promised to make America great again, but many small business operators in the area said the Trump security bubble is making it hard for them to survive. Instead of “great,” they will settle for keeping their heads above water.
“Business has dropped like 45 percent,” said Patricia Spuri, owner of the Carlos Lobo Salon.
At the salon, 46 W. 56th St., the sinks are empty, the styling chairs are vacant, and the hairdressers are sitting on a bench with nothing to do and no clients. It tells the tale of the Trump effect – what has happened to their business since new security measures went into effect to protect the president-elect and his family down the street.
“We do a lot of tourists, you know, so then the tourists are avoiding these streets,” Spuri said.
The salon is just one of 50 businesses surveyed by Stringer in the Trump Tower area – from 53rd Street to 59th Street and from Park Avenue to Sixth Avenue.
Stringer’s survey provides the first real glimpse of how a wide swath of small businesses are faring in the new security environment.
“The bike store; the barbershop; a small pizza shop – what people are forgetting is the people who work in these stores – even the big stores – are average New Yorkers who are struggling,” Stringer said. “How are they going to get their salaries; their raises; their holiday bonuses if the business is not coming into the stores?”
The comptroller found that 80 percent of businesses were impacted. A total of 46 percent said it was severe, and 70 percent reported delayed deliveries and trash problems.
And in really grim news, 27 percent of business operators said they might slash salaries or benefits, 12 percent said they might be forced to lay off workers, and 25 percent said they will have trouble paying rent.
And then there is Jimmie Tanzy, the manager of Allen M Jewelers at 1363 Sixth Ave.
“We’re down probably 70 percent since this happened,” Tanzy said. “Nobody’s walking in on the streets. People are just rushing to get where they are. They’re making it very difficult – if you have a store here, they’re killing us.”
CBS2’s Kramer asked Tanzy about his worst day.
“My worst day was last week,” he said. “I did like $65 (the whole day). It’s like I shouldn’t even open.”
Stringer added: “That’s really incredible in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Of the small businesses in and around Trump Tower, all of them are really suffering.”
CBS2’s Kramer contacted Trump and Mayor Bill de Blasio for comment, but had not heard back from either late Wednesday.