Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

From Krispy Kreme to Weed: Inside 5 Businesses That Opened in Pandemic N.Y.

New Yorkers, it seems, still want to dine out, eat carbs and cheese, buy lipstick and get high (but maybe not in that order).

By Alix Strauss

The numbers are staggering: More than 2800 businesses have closed in New York City since the coronavirus pandemic began.

But there are also signs of resilience, as schools, gyms and museums slowly reopen. More surprising, perhaps, are the rare new businesses that have seen success in a less than ideal situation, like the 4,500 square-foot Krispy Kreme shop in the tourist-lacking Times Square, where Broadway theaters are dark and hotels are mostly empty. The doughnut emporium, which opened in mid-September after a four-month delay, regularly has dozens of customers outside. They are waiting to see the production line that every hour can make thousands of doughnuts, not to mention the 24-inch glaze waterfall.

“Times Square is coming back. It’s not the Times Square we all know, but people are so excited and happy to see us here,” said Sara Carvell, the general manager at the new location. “I’ve seen people get very emotional to have something to go to.” After being open for just nine days, the store was averaging about 1,000 customers per day.

Here, four other business owners and managers share their stories about what it took to open during the pandemic, despite the uncertainties and obstacles.

‘Restaurants Are a Labor of Love’

SweetTalk, Brooklyn

“In March, we had to close all eight of our restaurants,” said Amy Mascena, the general manager of a consortium of Brooklyn restaurants, including Bar Tano, a popular spot in Gowanus that was often frequented by local artists and musicians.

But the biggest blow to the company came when Peter Sclafani, the beloved co-owner of the restaurant group, died unexpectedly at the age of 54 in August. “He had cancer, but he didn’t want anyone to know,” Ms. Mascena said. “His heart gave out. It was devastatingly sad.”

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