'Retail New York' hopes to help businesses crippled by quarantine | WHEC.com

'Retail New York' hopes to help businesses crippled by quarantine

Andrew Hyman
Updated: April 19, 2020 09:25 AM
Created: April 18, 2020 11:40 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – Hundreds of New York businesses crippled by shutdowns and quarantine are finding new help online in a marketplace meant to keep them going.

It's called "Retail New York", and it’s an online database that lists several "non-essential" and "essential" businesses, both locally and across the state. The site, which is operated by the Retail Council of New York State, was launched just a few weeks ago and has roughly 200 vendors signed on.

Retail council president Ted Potrikus says the site is like the yellow pages, but solely for retailers. He says the page benefits smaller businesses whose online presence may have otherwise been ignored and allows the non-essential businesses to still operate. 

"When stores can't be open, then it makes it awfully difficult to make a living and stay in business," he says.

Among the businesses which signed up was the Record Archive in Rochester.

"I'm just kind of overwhelmed by all of it, we're in uncharted territory," says Vice President Alayna Alderman.

The store closed its doors on March 17 as part of the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, and since then, Alderman is the only employee inside the building at its East Avenue location.

Alderman says the shop is no stranger to selling items online, but now, it’s needed. While she’s maintained a good connection with vendors, there aren’t new items coming in like they would when business was run as usual.

"Retailers, we're going to sell what we do anywhere we possibly can," Alderman says.

So far, she says she’s had success with new orders since signing up for Retail NY, but she is planning for a time when the business could re-open the store. The PAUSE Act is in effect until May 15 at the earliest, and both Alderman and Potrikus say non-essential businesses are staying optimistic while also trying to improve in the short-term. 

"We're not going to be ramped up to top speed right away,” Potrikus says. “It's going to take retailers time to get back to it, it's going to take us as consumers time to get back to it."

Alderman has applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, among other grants and loans as a way to cover costs now and later.

Additionally, she’s been preparing ways to keep the place sanitary, like establishing mandatory hand sanitizing stations and developing ways to adhere to physical distancing.  

While state leaders debate just how to re-open businesses, Alderman says she hopes they consider building size difference. The record store is a 13,000 square-foot warehouse space, and she says she could have all of her employees work inside and still be at a distance
Even with this mind, Alderman knows the un-pause has to be gradual.

"Everyone’s health and safety and welfare is paramount, my staff as well as all of my customers," she says.

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