By Kris Maccini, Social Media Manager, Triple-I
In support of Small Business Saturday, November 28, Insurance Information Institute spells Chelsea Bagel a company that has held resistant during the pandemic.
Deciding on your local bagel shop is an important part of becoming a New Yorker. I've made this city my home for the last 1
Chelsea Bagel in Tudor City is owned by Dimitri Mikhaylov. He opened the store and its sister restaurant, Chelsea Bagel & Café, together with his brother in 2015. Owning his own bagel shop became a dream after Dimitri invested in another café a few years earlier. He never imagined himself only five years later, the world would be in a global pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, we did good cost recovery. We had a steady flow of regular customers and high traffic from tourists. Meeting the pandemic and this tough economy has been one of our biggest challenges, says Dimitri.
In the early days of the pandemic, Dimitri had to make some difficult decisions to keep his doors open. He made staff reductions, changed working hours and kept his own salary to pay his employees.
"The first four weeks of the pandemic, I spent a lot of my own money to cover the company costs, and I did not pay myself in ten weeks," he says. "My wife and I also had to decide to defer our mortgage for six months to pay for the business."
“During that time, I thought my business break insurance could have helped cover our losses, but after contacting my insurer, I realized that pandemics were not covered. The next step was to apply for a public PPP loan.
The PPP loan for small businesses enabled Dimitri to cover its costs and re-employ staff. Since the summer, business has increased and he is slowly welcoming his regulars. There has been an increase of 25% of customers in recent months compared to the beginning of the pandemic where operations decreased by 75%.
In addition to the PPP loan, Dimitri recommends that small business owners really look at their costs to see where they can reduce spending. At the height of the pandemic, he chose to make all the purchases himself, which drastically lowers the cost of goods for his store.
"I hope the economy returns and gives customers back," says Dimitri. "This area [New York City] is dependent on tourists."
"It did not occur to me once but many times to give up the business during all this, but hope kept me going. I have a family to feed and my employees have families to feed."