STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — If Sherrian Cumberbatch can’t secure a loan to put a deposit down on a skyrocketing water bill, she may have to shut down the laundromat she has owned and operated in Port Richmond for the past 19 years.
"People are not coming in like they used to," said Ms. Cumberbatch, owner of the Bright Star Laundromat at 176 Port Richmond Ave. "My sales have already dropped less than 50 percent from last year."
"Your business is your job," she added. "If your business goes, then you have to go back into the community for a job."
As the nation’s unemployment rate hovers above 10 percent and small business owners fight to maintain their livelihood in lower-income areas that have been decimated by the recession, Ms. Cumberbatch and several residents gathered inside a Port Richmond hair salon today, carrying signs and chanting in Spanish with President Obama’s State of the Union repeat of his campaign promise to create new jobs ringing fresh from last night.
"[The president] said a lot of things about generating jobs, but we haven’t seen anything here," said Sara Dominguez, manager of La Nueva Imagen Beauty Salon at 464 Port Richmond Ave., the site of today’s gathering for the release of a report by the Make the Road New York organization. The report showed that while Wall Street continues to thrive with the bailout, Main Street, U.S.A. is dying with an overwhelming percentage of customers or business lost due to the recession.