By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Businesses across New York City are getting creative to stay afloat, offering new and different experiences for customers.

Eddie Travers is one of the owners of Fraunces Tavern in the Financial District, but his 250-year-old restaurant is tapping into the retail business.

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Fraunces Tavern in the Financial District is selling t-shirts, sweaters, mugs, face masks and their own whiskey to survive during the pandemic. (Credit: CBS2)

They’re selling t-shirts, sweaters, mugs, face masks and their own whiskey to survive during the pandemic.

“We always said we were going to do it but just never got around to doing it,” Travers told CBS2’s Cory James.

So far, Travers says the added merchandise, sold online and in the restaurant, has brought in an extra $30,000 since October.

“It’s not enough to keep us afloat, but it sort of just staves off the possibility of us having to close,” he said.

AMC Theatre is also trying something different. The company is letting customers rent out auditorium space for private movie showings.

One Manhattan woman jumped in on the offer to surprise her boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.

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“I snagged up a spot as soon as I could,” she said. “It was a reasonable price, so I was happy to see it.”


Starting Monday, Restaurant Week kicks off in New York City with strictly to-go orders.

Nearly 600 restaurants will be offering lunch and dinner for the bargain price of $20.21.

Restaurant Sweet Chili in Brooklyn is participating, and owner Lisa Fernandes is trying it out for the first time as a new business strategy.

“We’re hoping to generate more of a customer base, sell more food … and hopefully boost some sales and hopefully we can rehire some staff,” she said.

Business owners hope these creative changes will keep them open in these challenging times.

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Cory James