Support the little ones

I never knew how tough it could be to say goodbye to a business. My boss closed a restaurant in Harlem on Wednesday. Hoards of people came to pay their respects with a glass (or two or three) of wine, toasting to the restaurant’s 4.5 year run.  It was a sad occasion, though by the number of people who came out (standing room only) you wouldn’t have guessed the economy was so bad. If only everyday were closing day…

All irony aside, the outpouring of support was incredible. After we officially announced the close through Twitter, tweet after tweet expressed dismay. Retweets, blog posts, and articles were written. My heart was warmed after reading about how many lives were affected by this cozy wine bar on the corner of 21st and Frederick Douglass. For many, this was their Cheers. One saddened customer wrote,

“Today is a sad day all around. It’s raining and my favorite neighborhood bar is closing. I go to Nectar because it’s my Cheers. Yes, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name…There are so many things I love about Nectar, but most importantly I’ll miss seeing my friends and making new friends over a glass of Seven Sisters.”

To fully disclose my affiliation, I work for Jai Jai Greenfield, the former Wall Street trader-turned wine entrepreneur, owner of Harlem Vintage and now-closed Nectar Wine Bar NYC, as her digital assistant of sorts. It was amazing to see her strength during this difficult time, and my respect for her as both a businesswoman and individual has only grown.  She is a strong supporter of the Harlem community and always dedicates time and money to philanthropic causes. Now that Nectar is closed, all efforts will be channeled to Harlem Vintage but you can be sure that Jai Jai will still make her presence known in the community.

We drafted this letter explaining the close to customers:

After the tears are wiped, let’s put our money where our mouths are. In her farewell toast, Jai Jai emphasized the importance of supporting small businesses.

“Most small businesses are resource-constrained. It’s not just money constraints; it’s that plus time and people constraints.”

Small businesses are the heart and soul of the American economy. These places need your support. If they don’t have it, they cannot survive, let alone flourish.

So, remember to support the little ones folks.  We are lucky to have options and the ability to dine anywhere we want but in order to build a sense of community, we must support the businesses right in our own neighborhood.

Let’s toast to that.

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