Category Archives: Businesses

Upcoming SALT Conference

SALT – one of the most notable hedge fund conferences, usually held in Vegas – was held last week in New York City.  While it had gained a reputation (especially being held at the luxurious casino Bellagio hotel in Vegas) as being full of entertainment, 2021 had a slightly different feel.

New York’s Javits Center Expansion opened its doors for the first time, hosting the event in partnership with BattleFin (alternative data space firm).  At the 3 day event, industry executives and thought leaders collaborated on a wide range of subjects, with a particular focus on:

  • Alternative investments
  • Bitcoin
  • Fintech
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Sustainability.

The SALT Conference was first inaugurated in 2009 by Anthony Scaramucci, a co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital.  Of this year’s conference, he explained (insert this link:)

“Our goal has always been to empower big, important ideas and foster a community to address shared challenges. We’re also bringing SALT to NYC for the first time to help spur revitalization efforts in the city, and want to demonstrate leadership by returning to some semblance of normalcy while maintaining a safe environment for our attendees.”

Some of the featured speakers included: Jeb Bush, Steve Cohen (owner of the Mets), Ray Dalio (of Bridgewater), Paris Hilton (with fiancé Carter Reum), Jeb Bush and General H.R. McMaster among others.

New York: Getting Back to Business

New York is getting back on track following the 18 months of coronavirus business restrictions. Here, we look at a few events that give us optimistic hope for the future of the advancement of local companies: the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers, Bizzabo, local business networking.

Taking its inspiration from the European flower shows, the L.E.A.F Festival of Flowers is an annual flower show in Manhattan, launched in 2019 through pop-ups and its hashtag #NYFlowerweek. It is back now this Saturday and Sunday.  Events include: Lewis Miller’s ‘Flower Flashes’ at the Rockefeller Centre, Crosby Cat and the Alamo, East Olivia’s ‘Flatiron Floral Immersion’ at Flatiron Plaza, Ester Partegàs Cape Lily at The Source.

Now that the entertainment industry can finally start working again, there is good news in that department too. The international frontrunner in event software Bizzabo just announced that it purchased an AI scheduling tool company – X.ai – which is able to automate the bureaucratic parts of meetings through the generation of compatible times to meet across time zones, sends out follow ups, reminders and deals with any cancellations/postponements etc.  this acquisition will facilitate the development of meaningful connections for Bizzabo’s clients in-person, virtual and hybrid.

Over in Rochester, AV Science owner Laurie Elkin has welcomed the recent partnership announcement between businesses, networking, funding and educational opportunities. On this partnership, Assemblywoman of 136th District, Sarah Clark said:

“We know even before COVID pandemic that small business always need the extra access to resource technical assistance financial investment and those types of things. I hope it will light the flame of entrepreneurship in a way that some fold didn’t even now they have I hope it grows business in our city.”

Reopening of New York

The reopening of New York – something so many wanted for so long – has been met with an interesting response. People are shocked, surprised and a bit daunted by what is happening as so many people had gotten used to their “new normal.” Plus, the fact that restaurants, bars and offices are opening at 100% capacity have led to questions from many people wondering what crowds will feel like again after so much time being told to social distance.

It is not the entire New York that is reopening. Most theaters will be closed until at least September 2021. Office workers still tend to be working from home with a low number going back (approximately 16 percent, up from last summer’s 10 percent but still on the small side). One New Yorker, Michael Cortez (who like others believe the speed is “reckless”) said: “I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction to what’s going on in all the politics with Cuomo and everybody else. It’s crazy. And then we all ended up paying for it down the road. What’s the end game?”

He could be right.  But Cuomo pointed to the “statewide rolling positivity rate…of 1.79 percent, the lowest since November 5 and a 50 percent drop over the last month,” which would make sense for a re-opening.

De Blasio said that by July 1st, New York City will “fully reopen,” having vaccinated “a large percentage of its 8 million residents.”

Business Ideas for New Yorkers in 2021

It has been at best a challenging and at worst, a rough financial year.  Many industries are having to rethink their entire strategy and overall business model.  Moving into 2021, what are the best sectors most likely to be successful?

There are always new ideas though to adapt to current circumstances.  Right now we are in these unchartered territories but it is those who really think outside the box who can ultimately be profitable.

New York Business: Outdoor Designs

Given that there is little point in building right now with the pandemic preventing gatherings, architectural firms and designers are having to think outside the box.  Luckily some in New York are doing just that.

One example is Todd Haiman, a landscape designer who has been inundated with work since the pandemic began as New Yorkers are seeking to improve their outdoor areas.  Yards, terraces and balconies are becoming ever more popular and important since those are deemed safe in covid times. As Brooklyn-born Haiman pointed out:

“We’re trying to create an atmosphere that can be their sanctuary, whether they want to read a book out there or have cocktails.”

Then there is the outdoor dining concept.  Given that restaurants have been forced to close, the only option is for takeout and outdoor dining. Some of them are quite stunning and one in New York City – LA Mercerie – was just featured in Architectural Digest’s article, ‘These are the Most Beautifully Designed Outdoor Dining Experiences in America’  The eatery – just outside Williams Guild – features real-life flower boxes which provide a separation between patrons.  Cocktails and pastries are French based and the indigo blue exterior walls work perfectly with the woven bistro chairs.

Open Storefronts

From the end of last month New York’s Mayor started working on helping businesses in the same way that restaurants had been helped – by permitting them to open on the streets, outdoors (coronavirus guidelines being kept) and thus still being able to conduct sales.

This makes things much easier for the business owners.  Rather than until now, having to stand outside without the products for sale and try to encourage consumers to ask for what they want, this means they can just browse as they walk on the streets. They can set up tables outside and put up a temporary sign. Umbrellas can be used to guard against the elements, etc.  A path measuring eight feet however, must be made available for pedestrians to walk unimpeded.

Known as the Open Storefronts program, approximately 40,000 businesses in NYC are eligible to apply.

Creativity in New York Helping During the Pandemic

Creative ways of dealing with the pandemic in terms of financial stability are happening all around the world.  New York is no different.  Here we take a look at two cases.

In March of this year, florist Giovy Buyers had to let three of her works go as she closed the store.  Before closing however, she decided to take all of her remaining flowers to retirement homes.  She still thought she could maintain the business on some level though with funeral floral arrangements.  The problem was, her supply chain broke as she was not able to import flowers due to coronavirus.

So she found new suppliers, connected with local farmers markets and the City of Charlotte stepped in, offering small businesses grants.  She was given $10,000 in July from this initiative. To date, $20 million has been put toward such cases by the City of Charlotte in the “thrive” economic phrase.

In addition, Charlotte city established a workforce training program focusing on technology and renewable energy jobs, while giving out grants for companies to hire people who were let go for coronavirus-reasons.

Another creative way of helping people survive is the increase in no-fee rental listings in New York City.  In August between 75 to 85 percent of all Manhattan and Brooklyn rental lists eschewed brokers fees.  While these fees were decreasing anyway (due to the legislation passed last year which shifted the fees from renter to landlord in many cases), the law was still being challenged in court and it wasn’t as widespread as it is now.

With so many more rental properties available on the market, landlords are being forced to address the issue of high rents and high fees and respond accordingly which it seems they are doing.

Local Help and Optimism during COVID-19

Local businesses that have been hit hard by COVID-19 could be eligible for assistance from new initiatives of The Alliance for Downtown New York.

The Restaurant Online Ordering Sponsorship Program is an initiative undertaken between the Alliance and BentoBox. Eligible restaurants will receive delivery and takeout platforms as a way of adding profitability to those services. Each business will be able to customize the plug-and-play e-commerce experience to their particular needs.

The other program has been undertaken in conjunction with Streetsense, offering Lower Manhattan based small businesses technical assistance in legal COVID-prepared requirements.

Another industry that has been struggling is wineries.  Merritt Estate Winery and Liberty Winery have both been hit and marketing director of the latter Beth Margolis explained that: 

“while business is definitely down – mostly because of the lack of tourism – we’ve been making changes to weather the storm and we’re slowly opening back up.”

Things were definitely extremely hard at the beginning but since then lots of changes have been made and now – at least for these wineries – a new normal is being embraced.

One example of this is the public tastings (small groups, reservations required) that the wineries have held.

Business Transactions in the Time of Corona

It seems like business is really at a halt because of the novel coronavirus but if you take even a slightly closer look you can see that it’s not quite the case at all.  Amazon has just signed a deal to lease a Queens warehouse spanning a million square feet.  This investment in NYC will feature a delivery station offering a hugely efficient delivery service for the workforce, and include a multi-level parking structure at 55-15 Grand Avenue. Amazon is also in the process of negotiating another lease of 620,000 square feet in Red Hook, Brooklyn that is currently under construction.

Plans have been filed with the City of Buffalo by Great Point Capital Management to build an expansive film and TV studio complex.  The deal was signed earlier this year for the purchase of a building site with Rich Holdings Inc. and the space will feature two 20,000 square feet stages along with one 70,000 square foot office/support space.

Two seven floor properties featuring 72 apartments (39,000 square feet) and a retail unit spanning 5,000 square feet have been sold in Greenwich Village.  The transaction was undertaken by the Tri-State Investment Sales Group for Avison Young.  The sale price was $572 per square foot, totaling $22,250,000.