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Businesses near LIRR stations worry that summer will be slow

Rahima Hossain, 39, owner of Winners Corner Inc.,

Rahima Hossain, 39, owner of Winners Corner Inc., which sells beverages, snacks and tobacco products at the Mineola train station. Credit: Newsday / Ken Schachter

Business was slow Monday morning at Coffee-to-go inside the Freeport LIRR station, employee Angie Raigoza said, a sign that the Penn Station repairs are cutting back on business.

“I mainly see a rush of traffic in the morning,” Raigoza said. “On a good day I make about $30 in tips and on a bad day about $10. But now with these train problems, changes, delays . . . I think it’s going to get worse.”

The Long Island Rail Road’s summer schedule during the Penn Station repairs has businesses located at or near train stations worried they will lose customers.

Business was also slow at Winner’s Corner Inc., which sells beverages, tobacco products, snacks and lottery tickets at the Mineola Station, said owner Rahima Hossain, 39.

Fewer LIRR riders “definitely” will affect her business, and she might be forced to cut employee hours, the Hicksville resident said. “Ninety-five percent of our customers are commuters.”

Louie Platanias, owner of Mineola Eats, near the Mineola train station, said he might be forced to cut workers’ hours “so we can stay afloat.”

“As far as the trains, it’s definitely going to affect the business,” said Platanias, 44. “Less people coming in, less people going out.”

Half or more of the customers at Mega Wash, located one block from the Freeport train station, are commuters, Angela Velasco, an attendant at the laundromat, said Monday morning. “I’m really hoping that these train issues don’t cause” fewer customers to drop off laundry.

Keith Dahmen, 57, owner of Gino’s Pizza, located less than a block away from the Long Island Rail Road station in Babylon, said it’s too early to tell if the “summer of hell” will melt his business or make pie sales sizzle.

“For businesses like mine it’s not such a bad thing if people have to hang out by the train a little longer . . . I mean, people have to eat.”

And companies that provide alternative transportation said their business was strong Monday.

Buses at the Hampton Luxury Liner, which carries commuters between the Hamptons and Manhattan, were 90 percent or more filled on Monday, up from 15 percent to 20 percent usually, owner Mark Vigliante said. The bus line has been attracting new customers because of the LIRR disruptions, he said.

Vigliante said he is considering adding more buses: “For us, it is good for business.”

with Aisha Al-Muslim


CORRECTION: Angie Raigoza works at Coffee-to-go in Freeport. An earlier version of this story online misspelled her last name.

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