Community rallies to support Harlem business hurting from COVID-19, break in

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HARLEM, Manhattan — While the White House and Congress are fighting over an economic relief bill, many small businesses are still operating at limited capacity or have closed completely.

Harlem business owner Tammeca Rochester, who’s been fighting to stay afloat, said her business was vandalized over the weekend.

Rochester posted pictures of the break in at Harlem Cycle on Instagram and thousands of dollars of donations started pouring in. Other Harlem business owners, including Jahkeen Washington and Mary Pryor, who own their own fitness studios, sprung into action.

Rochester started her business four years ago. When COVID-19 hit, She pivoted to keep her business alive, holding outdoor classes, hosting midday movement parties on Instagram live, and livestreaming Zoom classes. Rochester said she’s not waiting for the government to bail her out.

“We have seen a thousand fitness studios close down. We can’t wait. We have to rely on our community,” said Rochester.

Rochester has received several grants from private donors to keep her business going, but with winter just around the corner, it will soon be too cold for outdoor classes and the future of her business is uncertain.

The business owner remains hopeful.

“We are not going anywhere. This was just a reminder how much our community is behind us,” said Rochester.

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