Earlier this week, you met Tammeca Rochester, the owner and founder of Harlem Cycle , Harlem’s 1st and only indoor cycling studio, for whom Brooklyn A fought to secure a fair, long-term lease for a second location in her community.
We recently checked in with Tammeca to see how she is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crisis is presenting Tammeca with many challenges related to her business. She is unable to host in-person classes, severely cutting business revenue. As many fitness studios have done, she has been creative in their virtual offerings. Yet hosting virtual classes come with challenges –they have a limited supply of bikes to rent out, and there are complications on charging for virtual classes due to music licenses. Construction on her second location is almost complete, and she worries about taking on those additional costs.
Tammeca , a minority woman small business owner, has had a hard time accessing loans or grants that will help her businesses survive this crisis . Most loans are available for those who have a lending history with their bank. She has not been approved for loans previously, even with a close-to-perfect credit score.
Tammeca also faces challenges accessing relief through the federal stimulus packages because her employees are all independent contractors. While it is demoralizing to spend time applying for loans, she believes she will be unlikely to obtain, Tammeca continues to persist in doing all she can to keep Harlem Cycle, a beloved community resource, afloat.
Brooklyn A’s goal now is to prevent small business evictions and closures and not simply delay them. We are advising Tammeca, and other small business owners, of their rights and negotiating lease modifications with their landlords, so they have better chances of survival.
Since the beginning of the crisis, we have seen a 10-fold surge in requests for help. We have created a comprehensive Commercial Leasing FAQ ; hosted a series of webinars and virtual town halls, prioritized outreach to and intakes for the most vulnerable small business owners; and partnered with a new pro bono network of attorneys.
Our program is one of the best tools for the recovery of NYC’s small businesses. Click here to donate now and support our work representing resilient small business owners like Tammeca.