For businesses, lockout a test of future without team
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But Borrelli said he was pleased when the lockout ended, and he said that the restaurant will carry extra staff on game nights, and also plans to hold pre-game and post-game drink specials. “It’ll be nice to look in our dining room and see Islanders shirts,” he added.
The NHL lockout coincided with the late-October arrival of Hurricane Sandy. While many residents waited days — and even weeks — for electricity to be restored to their homes, some took solace inside of local restaurants. As a result, Borrelli’s, which lost power for three days following the storm but reopened on Nov. 1, saw an extra influx of customers. Additionally, Borrelli said, the subsequent holiday season brought upon extra catering bookings.
Mike Panagatos, who owns the Empress Diner on Hempstead Turnpike, also said his eatery saw an increase in customers following the hurricane. Having never lost power, the diner housed hundreds of people a day looking not only for food, but warmth, and a place charge their electrical devices. As a result, Panagatos said he did not experience a commercial loss during the NHL lockout.
Panagatos said his biggest concern was for the part-time employees who work at the Coliseum, who rely on the income to pay their bills. “I feel for the workers there,” he said. “It’s not going to make or break my business, but they really need that extra pocket change.”
Potter’s Pub owner Mike Amitrano said his restaurant, also on Hempstead Turnpike, did not see a drastic decrease in business. However, he added that the Islanders’ return would provide a boost in customers, especially on weeknights. “With the people coming in before the games, and after the games, it’s that bit of gravy on top of things,” Amitrano said.
In fact, some owners expressed that the lockout helped them learn that their business will not suffer when the Islanders permanently leave Nassau County for Brooklyn in 2015. “We don’t want to see them go,” said Borrelli, “but we’re definitely going to be able to survive without the New York Islanders being across the street,” he said.