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Big Apple Improvises To Reopen For Business

CANDICE CHOI

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Two days after Superstorm Sandy brought business in New York City to a standstill, stores that lost power are again serving customers albeit by flashlight. Companies with closed offices are setting up shop in coffeehouses. And the owner of the Starlight Diner is borrowing bacon from his neighbors because the restaurant's cupboard is bare.

The world's financial center is struggling to get back to work as it deals with a subway system that's still crippled by the worst damage in its 108-year-history and power outages in major sections of the city. That's kept both employees and customers at bay. As a result, big multinational banks are in the same proverbial boat as corner bodegas: looking for creative ways to get their businesses back up and running.

New York City is home to roughly a million companies both big and small. While the impact of Sandy varies, the city's businesses face billions of dollars in damages and lost sales. So while reopening quickly is a priority, it can require resourcefulness and a smidge of creativity.

For Teddy Papaioannou that meant calling in some favors. The co-owner of the Starlight Diner on Wednesday was running low on supplies at his midtown Manhattan restaurant, so he borrowed a few pounds of bacon from his neighbors who are also small business owners.

Papaioannou, who owns the diner with his brother and father, was so eager to open that the three of them even chauffeured employees around on Tuesday and Wednesday. They picked up a total of 20 workers for various shifts over the two-day period.

"Closing for three days would ruin us for a month," he said.

Lost sales were a big motivator for other business owners too. William Badie, owner of Food Fair food market and deli, estimated he lost $8,000 by being closed Monday and Tuesday. So he made sure he was open Wednesday. Only one of his usual three staffers could make it into work, so he paid for him to get there.

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