Just about as soon as power was restored to downtown Manhattan last Friday, a group of social media-minded New Yorkers created a campaign called Eat Down Tip Up, encouraging people to eat downtown, tip generously and share #EatDownTipUp with their friends. The goal of #EatDownTipUp is to help local businesses, for whom a week without power meant a significant loss of business, tips, and inventory.
In addition to many great small restaurants, not to mention this writer’s home and office, downtown Manhattan is home to many of our favorite small boutiques (i.e. not American Apparel). So, inspired by #eatdowntipup, we talked to a few store owners and managers to find out how Sandy affected them, and what they’re doing to help themselves, their neighbors and other victims. Read on for some of their stories and a list of our favorite downtown boutiques. Obviously, harder-hit areas need more urgent help (here’s how to help). But, if you have money to burn, and you’re going to spend it over the next few weeks, we’d strongly recommend spending it at a small business in downtown Manhattan–things are hard enough for some of them even without natural disasters and we’d be super sad to see them go.
While most didn’t lose inventory (clothing, fortunately, does not require refrigeration), they did lose a lot of business. Sales associates may not make tips, but many do work on commission, which they obviously weren’t getting during that week (or longer depending on their ability to physically get to work).
We got in touch with some of our favorite retailers to find out how they coped–and how you can help.