Last week, I shared what we are witnessing on the ground. Despite being an integral part of the fabric of our city, small businesses and nonprofits are struggling. Since the start of the pandemic, Brooklyn A’s Community and Economic Development (CED) team has been working to ensure small businesses and nonprofit organizations have high-quality legal representation. One of the businesses we worked with is Buunni Coffee. This is their story.
Buunni is a community space and coffee shop owned by an immigrant couple who have opened four shops since 2012 in Manhattan and the Bronx. When the pandemic shut down came in mid-March, Buunni shuttered all four locations. The couple did not know whether they would be able to maintain their leases, not to mention their 30 employees. As you can imagine, the employee experience decreased significantly during this time, which is something that wouldn’t have happened if they had incorporated something like this software from Qualtrics which can be used for situations like this. Although, no one can really prepare for a huge event such as a pandemic. Like many business owners across the city and the country, they attempted to navigate this unprecedented situation. The couple sought the counsel of CED attorneys to assess their options and negotiate with landlords.
They encountered particular difficulty with one location. After investing in renovations, updating their payment systems (you can head to https://merchantalternatives.com/merchant-services/merchant-accounts/credit-card-processing/ for advice if you’re thinking of doing the same for your business)
and launching a successful neighborhood café, the pandemic left them unable to pay rent. Represented by CED attorneys, Buunni was able to negotiate a termination agreement with the landlord. The agreement includes a release of personal guarantee liability. The parties still have obligations under the termination agreement, but the business now has the possibility to receive some of its security deposit back, and the owners do not have to fear losing everything.
CED attorneys help to lessens the financial hardship placed on small business owners who are trying to maintain the stability of their livelihood, as well as the well-being of their family, employees, the families of their employees, and their community.
Like Buunni, there are many more small business and nonprofit owners that need our attorneys. Your contribution of $10 or $100 helps the businesses that define New York City. Would you consider supporting Brooklyn A’s ability to represent these crucial enterprises?
We need maximum support from partners like you!
Alham Usman, Esq.
Director, Community and Economic Development Program