Power Outages Hurt NYC Merchants

Jul 26, 2006 6:57 AM  By

A week after parts of New York City lost electricity due to storms, some areas are still in the dark. Fortunately for two multichannel merchants with facilities in those areas, however, their power was restored relatively quickly.

Parts of the borough of Queens have been without power since July 18, but upscale gift merchant Michael C. Fina’s operations were affected only for the first 36 hours, according to spokesperson Meryl Gold.

And Jack Rayher, president of institutional furniture cataloger Adirondack Direct, says that though his company experienced an uncomfortable few days, it was able to go about business as usual.

Though Michael C. Fina’s headquarters are in Manhattan, its electronic servers are in Queens. As a result, service in its two stores, its contact center, and its Website was affected, according to an e-mail sent to its bridal customers earlier this week.

“If a registry needed to be pulled, we couldn’t do that, but we were still able to take bridal orders manually,” Gold says. “Our warehouse did have to close down [Wednesday] because of the lack of lighting and air-conditioning.”

Gold adds that customers were “very, very patient” while the servers were down and that the company was able to get the bridal registries back up to speed.

Rayher says Adirondack Direct did not lose power but was asked by utility provider ConEd to cut back lighting on July 18 and to shut down its air-conditioning on July 19. The warehouse remained open, with windows opened.

“We were lucky. By making a few changes we hopefully helped prevent more power lines from burning out,” Rayher says. “We dramatically cut back on energy, but we made the best of it.”

The network of cables, transformers, and other equipment in the affected areas of Queens sustained major damage during the thunder storms, and most of it must be rebuilt, ConEd said in a statement released Tuesday.