Posts Tagged ‘St. Vincent’s Hospital’

Hospital Closure Devastates Local Businesses

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Since St. Vincent’s Hospital closed its doors, its 3,500 employees, patients and their visitors are no longer patronizing small retail businesses in the hospital’s immediate vicinity in Lower Manhattan. The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce reports that the hospital’s closure has resulted in 40 – 50% declines in operating profits among small businesses in the city blocks around the old hospital site, with one business reporting a revenue decline of 80%.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli met with neighborhood businesses to make them aware of small business loans available through the comptroller’s New York Business Development Program. I think that there are three takeaways from this experience. The first is the risks to small businesses that lack a diversified customer base. The second is that our paradigm of disaster is outdated, focusing on physical damage as a measure of economic losses. In fact, in our service economy there need not be a correlation between physical damage and economic losses, as this example illustrates. Finally, our policymakers need to understand that debt is not the answer to every problem. With revenue declines of 40 – 50%, how are these small businesses to repay the loans they are being encouraged to take out? Borrowing to continue a lifestyle that is no longer sustainable will only make matters worse for the small business owner.