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SoHo Businesses Suffer as Power Goes Out

NEW YORK — Lower Manhattan was dealt another blow Saturday, as the power outage resulting from a transformer fire at the East Side Con Ed plant caused many businesses to close early — losing thousands of dollars in sales in the...

NEW YORK — Lower Manhattan was dealt another blow Saturday, as the power outage resulting from a transformer fire at the East Side Con Ed plant caused many businesses to close early — losing thousands of dollars in sales in the process.

Like the majority of retailers in SoHo and TriBeCa impacted by the explosion, DKNY on West Broadway closed about five hours early, at 3 p.m., after staying open without power for about two hours. On a typical Saturday, the store does at least $20,000 in sales — but not on this day, said an employee, who asked not to be identified.

“We just did manual charges, but when the phone died that was it, and we had to close,” the employee said. “We lost about $18,000 in sales, but no one was coming in and everyone in SoHo closed down.”

After staying open for only two hours, Prada on Broadway closed early in the afternoon. The store manager said it surely meant a considerable loss in sales, but didn’t disclose how much.

“We had no power, so we closed,” the manager said. “It was a busy day otherwise.”

Diesel Style Lab also closed early — at 3 p.m. A store manager said, “It would be safe to say we lost a lot of business. It was hot and dark, but everyone was in good spirits. But we were lucky that we could direct them to our store uptown on 60th and Lexington.”

Meanwhile, some stores like Emporio Armani, Kirna Zabete and Anne Klein braved the lack of air-conditioning and dim lighting for the sake of possible sales.

Anne Klein manager Linda Melazzo said the store’s skylights saved it from closing.

“If we didn’t have skylights it would have been too dark to shop. People would come in and say ‘why do you have power?’ and we would say, ‘we don’t, we have Mother Nature,’” she joked. “The fitting rooms were a little dark, but nobody panicked and it was fine.”

Still, the store closed one hour early at 7 p.m., after West Broadway had emptied out. Overall, Melazzo said it was a quiet day, with mostly tourists shopping. She doubted the store lost any money due to the power outage.

The SoHo area was hit hard after Sept. 11, with many stores closing, but traffic has begun to return to pre-attack levels.

Power was restored to the affected area around 8:30 on Saturday night, and on Sunday all stores contacted were back in normal operation — shoppers on the prowl and air conditioners on high.