For Kenyatta ‘Kymme’ Williams-Davis and her husband Raymond Davis, the survival of their Brooklyn business was an afterthought as COVID-19 ravaged their family, friends, and customers at the height of the pandemic. 

Their cozy little coffee shop, the Bushwick Grind on Whipple Street, was shuttered for months when the virus swept through the city. But soon, they realized that closing was the least of their problems: Kenyatta, her family, and friends all came down with the contagion.

That began an odyssey of dealing with both myriad health issues and the economic fall-out of the pandemic that remain an ongoing challenge. But Williams-Davis says it taught her valuable lessons that she has applied to her life and business going forward – she has strength through her family a spirituality to make things work.

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More and more businesses have been given the green light to reopen by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the state’s COVID-19 phased reopening plans — but some exceptions include the attractions industry.

Ryan D’Amico, the vice president, owner and general manager of Laser Bounce Family Fun Center in Glendale and Levittown, believes Cuomo has delayed the reopening of the attractions industry for “far too long and to the detriment” of the state.

“Family entertainment centers, water parks, amusement parks — the overall attractions industry — in New York has been forgotten,” D’Amico wrote in an op-ed. “We employ thousands of people and contribute to our communities. Our employees are ready to work. Our guests are ready to return. And we are ready to work with the state to present our plans

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Rachel Kellner was a social worker helping people with drug addiction, but now she encourages a new more healthy compulsion – a community of chocoholics in Queens.

Kellner is a partner with husband, pastry chef Mark Libertini at Aigner Chocolates on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens where despite the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple is devoted to the success of their business. And the former Kraus’ Chocolate at this same location prior to their purchasing the business in 2015, will be celebrating 90-years of chocolate delight.

The pandemic surely threatened their business early on, forcing them to close their doors just before the all-important Easter Celebration when the chocolate bunnies would practically fly out the door. Instead, those rascally rabbits sat on the shelf with nobody to eat

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been n0thing short of a financial disaster for most mom-and-pop establishments in the city — with many forced to close for months at a time, or face severe restrictions on their customers to avoid contamination.

But for partners John LaPolla and Douglas Amport, business has been as brisk as a frosty fresh pint of home-brew beer as Brooklyn’s Bitter and Esters never had to close.

While they had to restrict customers from coming inside their establishment on Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights — the only home-brewing shop in New York City — they already had a powerful web-based operation and a strong local following that had customers from all over lining up to brew their own beers at home.

John LaPolla of Bitter & Esters on Washington Avenue
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Neil Schneider, of J&M Hardware and Locksmith in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, is the quintessential mom and pop type store surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though they were allowed to remain open during the crisis as an essential business, revenues are still off by more than 50%. What’s a good barometer for assessing the situation? For Schneider, it’s all in the keys.

During the worst part of the crisis, he was making just 93 keys in a month, versus more than 1,000 normally. Street traffic is also off significantly — he points to the lack of delivery trucks on his street as an indicator.

Schneider has a rather small store on East 21st Street compared to some of the bigger names in the Flatiron District; Home Depot sits only two blocks away on

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