FLORAL PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The snow is making things even tougher for local downtowns, where businesses are already struggling due to pandemic restrictions.
Cleaning up nearly a foot of snow seems like a normal nuisance on Covert Avenue, where the challenges keep piling up, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
First, COVID shutdowns. Then, in September a fire destroyed 10 businesses.
Capo Restaurant was among them.
“We lost our business. It was a tough pill to swallow. It still is. But the continued support of the neighborhood, it’s incredible,” said owner Paul Capoziello.
Floral Park, with its burned out shops, is on one side of Covert Ave. Stewart Manor is on the other. The adjacent villages are fending off hardships that test the merchants’ resilience and the caring of the community.
Capoziello now sells holiday meals to-go after local caterers offered up their kitchens.
“It’s not about money. It’s about keeping relevant and having the support of a community to keep your hopes up and to push you a little bit,” he said.
Other businesses on the street, like Salon de Capelli, offered space to store owners who lost everything.
“We are a family here on Covert Avenue,” said salon owner Lori Santagata. “Everyone helps everyone here.”
And shoppers are doing their part.
“People always tell me that they want to shop local and keep it in the neighborhood as opposed to going to a big box store,” said Jack McCullough of Jack’s Custom Framing.
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“I feel bad for all the owners. I just hope to see them back soon,” said Paul Dougherty, another shopper.
Retail around the nation fell in November, signaling yet another very rough patch. But there’s hope and unity on Covert Ave.
“We had fundraisers,” said President of the Covert Avenue Civic Association Magdelena Chen. “However, it does take its toll.”
“We support each other. That’s what a village does,” said Rene Jorglewich, owner of Body Works. “The support that this community gives us is tremendous and we survive because of them.”
The slogan “Covert Avenue Strong” was coined by the local chamber of commerce before the pandemic. Now it’s a rallying cry to keep businesses alive.