Life Upended. The coronavirus alpha has had a adverse appulse on our nation, and it has afflicted Staten Islanders in endless ways. In this series, anchorman Tracey Porpora will allotment the belief of those who accept been advance into situations that were doubtful aloof a few months ago — those who accept apparent their activity absolutely upended. This is the sixth adventure of “Life Upended.”
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Elaine Putonti, buyer of Cape Abode Arcade in Tottenville, forth with her husband, Richard, has had bodies from all over the apple appointment her boutique specializing in altered gifts, which is housed in a refurbished 90-year-old ranch.
Listed in bout guides as the “last stop” to appointment in New York City, the aspect home adornment and allowance boutique has been a mainstay on the southernmost tip of Staten Island for about three decades.
“We’ve had bodies stop in from Germany, France, all altered places. They appear in, airing about and shop. It’s amazing,” said Putonti. “It’s a appropriate abode because we put the arcade in this old admirable abode at a time aback anybody had larboard Tottenville. …My bedmate adapted this abode with his own easily for about 10 months, and we created a attractive area here.”
The Putontis went to academy to apprentice custom framing, and they congenital their business from scratch, she said.
“I ample aback then, if you body it, they will come. And they did,” she said of the business that helped them put their three now-grown accouchement through school.
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The year 2020 apparent Putontis’ 28th year in business affairs home adornment items, including custom framing of aggregate from posters to shadowboxes. Elaine Putonti additionally is a floral designer, and sells an arrangement of ability from adornment to adorning appliance emphasis pieces.
“We accept to our customers, and if there’s article they want, we accompany it in for them. We do a lot of alert to our barter and accord them a lot of alone service. That’s what we are accepted for. We booty time with customers. We don’t blitz people,” she said. “Most of our business over the years has been through referrals. Bodies assurance aback accession says, ‘You charge to go there.‘”
But overnight, aggregate the Putontis congenital was about gone for acceptable aback coronavirus (COVID-19) shuttered the business on March 21 for three months.
“In 28 years, we’ve asperous abounding storms, but this is the affliction we’ve anytime seen,” she said, citation bread-and-butter downturns, recessions and antagonism with online merchants.
At the admission of the pandemic, the Putontis went through an arrangement of alloyed emotions.
“We are chief citizens, so we were angry the abhorrence of accepting the virus; we were actual anxious about that. We were shut down, so we were activity array of claustrophobic. Remember — we were shut bottomward in March, and we weren’t active out to booty a airing appropriate away,” she said, acquainted they now accept bristles grandchildren.
At the alpha of the lockdown she approved to administer for loans, to no avail.
“We had no admission to any affectionate of allotment while we were closed,” said Putonti, acquainted she didn’t authorize for government loans, like the PPP (Payroll Protection Loan). ”We don’t accept a agglomeration of employees. … It was actual confusing. In the alpha we weren’t accepting any answers. Finally, we saw we didn’t authorize because 75% had to be acclimated for payroll.”
The brace lived on their accumulation during the pandemic. But were abashed to “dip in.”
“We capital to apperceive we will accept money to alive on already we retire, so it was alarming not alive how continued this would last,” she said.
And alone in backward June was she assuredly able to administer for the Bread-and-butter Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL) Loan, which promises to accommodate up to $10,000
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