Occupy Side Effect: 21 Cafe Workers Lose Jobs

Protests damaging small business, Milk Street Cafe owner says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2011 8:36 AM CDT
Occupy Side Effect: 21 Cafe Workers Lose Jobs
Occupy Wall Street members take part in New York's annual Halloween parade in New York, October 31, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand   (Getty Images)

Is Occupy Wall Street inadvertently hurting the little guy? That’s what Marc Epstein, owner of Wall Street’s Milk Street Cafe, claims. Thanks to the protests—and the resulting police barricades that line Wall Street, which he says somewhat hide his eatery and make it difficult for people to enter—sales are down 30%. So Epstein had to fire 21 of his employees last week, he tells DNAinfo. "What are [the protesters] trying to accomplish here?" Epstein says. "The end result is that I and all the wonderful people who work for me are collateral damage."

While Epstein supports the protesters' rights, he isn’t a huge fan of the barred subway entrances, constant marches, and police checkpoints, all contributing factors to his decision to now close at 3:30pm instead of 9pm on weekdays. This after he sank $4 million into the location, opened in June and was heralded as a part of the neighborhood's revitalization. Things were going so well Epstein thought he'd hit break-even by this month. Now he estimates he may only be able to stay in business three more weeks. "This movement is not serious," he concludes. "If it was, they would not want small businesses going out of business." (Celebrity side note: Epstein’s landlord, this guy, says he will try to get the barricades removed.)

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