Post-Sandy, Shops Stay Up Late Hoping Customers Will Come Down Chimney

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Shops on East Ninth Street are pulling an all-nighter and hoping to make back some of the thousands of dollars in business they lost in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy.

On Wednesday, at least 11 boutiques that usually close their doors around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. will encourage the after-work crowd to “Shop Until Midnight.”

Hurricane Sandy’s negative effect on business has been very well documentedDevorado NYC — a vintage store selling Emilio Pucci, Yves Saint Laurent and classic Dior — saw an extreme dip in sales after the storm.

Carmen Ruiz-Davila, who opened the store just five months ago, panicked when she noticed the slump. “I didn’t sell anything for three weeks, not a single thing,” she said. “After we regained power, people were not in the mood to shop; they were helping people in need.”

On Wednesday Devorado and other participating shops will offer special 30-to-40 percent sales on select items.

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Event organizer Sara Romanoski, director of the East Village Community Coalition — which supports the area’s cultural and commercial enterprises — explained that the neighborhood’s local shops depend on elevated foot traffic during the holiday season to stay open.

“Since Sandy, all businesses in the East Village suffered from some combination of structural damage, loss of inventory, business interruption, and the lasting effects resulting in lower traffic at this critical time of year,” she said.

Amé Amé, a concept store stuffed to the brim with umbrellas and candy jars, has seen an extreme decline in business during what was expected to be peak season.

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“There have just been days that are just extremely show,” said Teresa Soroka, the shop’s owner and an organizer of Shop Until Midnight. “There are just so few people on weekends; that’s the scary part.”

Ms. Soroka was inspired to collaborate with the East Village Community Coalition after seeing vegan ice cream store Stogo close after four years on Second Avenue. She said Amé Amé similarly lost around $10,000 to $15,000 in sales compared to last year’s revenues during this time.

Because the East Village doesn’t bring a regular flow of office workers, businesses count on weekend and evening traffic from locals and tourists, Ms. Romanoski said.

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Michael Quilty, owner of Seyrig — a cozy haven selling designer organic-cotton tops, cashmere sweaters, and silk dresses — will stay open to give the “late-night neighborhood” a chance to shop.

“It just gives us more hours to be here for people,” he said. Most of the customers who shop for pieces from the store’s line as well as by exclusive designers (most of which were produced in New York) are East Villagers and European tourists.

Business for Seyrig, across the street from Amé Amé was only slow for four to five days. November “turned out to be a very good month,” Mr. Quilty said.

“We felt the effects on the hurricane because it changed people’s priorities. I know people who were stuck in their apartments for days with no power or phone. People just didn’t shop for a little while,” he said.

RSVP to the event for a full list of participating shops, or check back here later.