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The primary yr doing tattoos in New York, Crimson Baron Ink on the Decrease East Facet, suffered a direct set-back – Hurricane Sandy flooded their new retailer.
Right this moment, a distinct type of invisible hurricane is hitting their new retailer on West 14th Avenue, forcing them and different tattoo artists to shut their doorways and wait this out – COVID-19. Giselle Azcona-Lubbock and her husband Grant are anxious.
With no reopening date in sight, Lubbock says they simply need to survive. They have been in a position to pay their landlord 60 % of the $9,000 hire, however what about this subsequent month? They utilized for SBA loans, have been authorized for $16,000, however received $2,000. They utilized for worker retention loans and obtained $2,000. They nonetheless retain their supervisor on wage – however lots of the freelancers, a part of the gig economic system, are on their very own.
They’re making use of for the brand new spherical of stimulus as a small enterprise, however they don’t know if it is going to be sufficient.
Fortunately, their landlord is beneficiant and has lower them slack, however for a way lengthy they surprise? So many questions: How does a tattoo artist social distance? Sure, they put on masks and use gloves, however preserving six toes from their clients is unattainable as it’s in a barbershop, nail salon and different private care companies.
“Do individuals want a tattoo, a piercing, a haircut or excellent nails to outlive no, completely not,” Lubbock sighed. “It’s not our intention to downplay the work of important employees throughout this pandemic. However we don’t want to be forgotten, as we’ve got been there for individuals once they want us. When individuals need to showcase their new tattoo or hair shade, when individuals merely need to feel and look good that’s the place us non-essential employees are available in.”
Lubbock understands the hazard at the moment, she had an aunt die from COVID-19 in a New Jersey nursing house. Considered one of her artists had two mother and father within the hospital with coronavirus.
So she and her husband fear that whereas they’re wholesome, the 8-year-old enterprise might not survive. She mentioned the closing of 14th Avenue to car visitors has lowered avenue visitors to her retailer. Fortunately, that they had delay a call to increase to a different location – in any other case there would’ve been two rents to fret about.
“Thank God we didn’t do this, there would’ve been payments from two places and the enlargement would’ve put us fully out of enterprise and as you already know, New York Metropolis hire is ridiculous,” Lubbock mentioned. “After we went in search of our present location, there was nothing on the market for lower than $7,000 a month after which you need to provide you with three months’ hire prematurely. After paying taxes we take house about 10 % of the earnings. However that’s the threat you’re taking being your individual boss.”
Lubbock’s husband Grant is a transplant from California and has been working exhausting to maintain the enterprise working. That first yr with Hurricane Sandy was difficult because the Decrease East Facet floods precipitated heavy harm to that retailer. However she worries that this new hurricane will not be survivable.
“We can’t be open – our enterprise is head to head with individuals so it makes it actually robust,” Lubbock says. “If we will’t reopen, we’ll in all probability be out of enterprise and on the street.”