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'Made in NYC' Shopping Site Helps Local Businesses Recover From Sandy

By Janet Upadhye | November 26, 2012 3:48pm

NEW YORK CITY — Robicelli's, a Sunset Park manufacturer of cupcakes, brownies, hot cocoa and other baked goods, took a hurricane-sized hit after Sandy.

The small company, based in a 19th century factory in industrial South Brooklyn and run by a local wife and husband duo, lost power and suffered flooding from the storm.

Like hundreds of other small businesses, Robicelli's is still struggling to get back on its feet.

"The amount of money it costs to keep a business afloat in NYC in unconscionable — even a single weekend of lost revenue can mean the difference between staying open or shutting your doors forever," Allison Robicelli wrote on her blog. "The reality of post-Sandy New York is that there are literally tens of thousands of businesses on the verge of closing forever."

But because of the local online shopping site 'Made in NYC,' Robicelli's has a fighting chance.

First created by the Pratt Center for Community Development in the wake of 9/11, 'Made in NYC' recently launched a new holiday shopping section with a timely goal: help New York City's small manufacturers recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The online holiday shop features a variety of goods including locally made desserts, handbags, and toys from 170 local manufacturers who employ more than 3,000 workers, according to Adam Friedman, director of the Pratt Center.

Aside from Robicelli's, shoppers can buy pickled gifts from Brooklyn Brine, a pickle and brined products manufacturer located in Gowanus, where employees were unable to get to work after the storm.

There are also products from Hanky Panky, a women's intimates company located in Manhattan's Garment District that "lost power for several days following the storm, bringing all operations to a standstill," according to a Pratt Center press release.

'Made in NYC' is "basically a website like Amazon where you could shop for anything, but the goods wouldn’t come from a giant warehouse in the middle of nowhere — they would come from small businesses and manufacturers right here in New York City, made by American hands," said Robicelli.