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Lower Manhattan Businesses Turn To Crowd Funding To Start To Recover From Sandy Losses

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TWC News: Lower Manhattan Businesses Turn To Crowd Funding To Start To Recover From Sandy Losses
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After suffering damage from Hurricane Sandy, some Lower Manhattan businesses owners are turning to crowd funding to get back on their feet. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Three months after Hurricane Sandy, it is still eerily deserted at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan. A security guard patrols empty blocks that would otherwise be bustling, looking into windows of businesses that are still closed.

"The electrical systems have been so badly destroyed that the landlord is still doing work to get them up and running so that we can reopen," said Calli Lerner, the owner of Bin 220 and Keg 229.

Getting back to business is likely to take three to four more months for some businesses. That was too long a wait for Amanda Byron Zink, who owns the Salty Paw Pet Grooming Spa.

"I won't make it. I have to figure something out," said Zink.

Soon after, she started temporarily operating out of the Seaport Animal Hospital and came across a flyer for the crowd funding website Lucky Ant.

"I called them up and at that point I was just so destitute. With no insurance money, with nothing left in my store and they said 'I want to help you. I want to help raise funds,'" Zink said.

So far, Zink has raised about $9,000 for her business through the site. She suggested it to a group of her fellow business owners who had formed a group called United Front On Historic Front Street.

Members said they like that Lucky Ant does not simply solicit donations.

"People can buy gift certificates to use at a future date when we do reopen, so they're not just donating money, they're buying gift certificates," Lerner said. "It's just so we can get that money now when we need it to buy certain equipment and things of that nature."

United Front On Historic Front Street is hoping loyal customers, and maybe a couple of new ones, will lend a hand in restoring the neighborhood even better than it was before.

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