CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reports the owners of The Bronx Design Group feared they would close, but found a way to refocus how they do business.
For 29 years, the familiar sounds coming from the shop in Pelham Bay were music to owner Geri Sciortino’s ears.
“A lot of our business is event driven, so we do invitations, fundraisers, corporate and social, so come March we has all these events we were working on,” said Sciortino.
The coronavirus led to canceled events, silencing her machines and putting the family-owned business in danger of shutting down.
“We lost over 80%, maybe 90,” said Sciortino. “It was devastating to tell my employees that we didn’t have enough money to pay them.”
“There was a lot of anxiety because I wasn’t aware of how to pay my bills,” said Jude Dervil.
Eventually, with the help of the Paycheck Protection Program, all seven employees were able to return, including Dervil.
“This is like home. So being back here, I was thankful and excited to be back,” said Dervil.
Not only were the workers back, the store was busy.
The design group found a way to refocus to meet needs specifically during the coronavirus pandemic.
The business is creating airport signs, graduations signs, even crosses for social distancing in churches.
Manufacturing is fully up and running now that New York City is in Phase 1 reopening.
“We begged for work and I’m telling you the response was overwhelming,” said Sciortino.
Business picked up so much, Sciortino needed another machine to keep up with the workload.
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“It’s ironic that COVID shut us down. We almost thought we were just gonna go out of business and now we can’t keep up,” said Sciortino. “I never thought we would all be together again…It was like coming home. It really was.”
Now, the family behind The Bronx Design Group can keep their home, and maybe celebrate three decades of business in February.