The Mom-and-Pop toy store Lainie’s Way in Port Jefferson is in danger of closing — and store owner Lainie Litovsky says she is hoping the community will help her stay open.
Litovsky has launched an online campaign at CrowdTilt.com to raise the money to pay her store’s back debt caused by two back-to-back floods and a slow winter season, she says.
The store’s first flood occurred during superstorm Sandy; the second was caused by a burst pipe. The store reopened at a new location in Port Jefferson, but the money earned from sales hasn’t enough to pay for $89,000 in debts, Litovsky says.
Jen Hinst-White, 33, of Sound Beach, is a customer who gave $50 to the campaign. “Lainie’s Way is just a gem,” she says. She and her son, Charlie, 4, frequent the store. “We will go and spend an hour in there just looking at the toys,” she says.
Hinst-White says she asked herself before giving, “Shouldn’t businesses be self-sustaining?” But then she decided, “If Lainie’s Way were to go out of business it would be a real loss for the community and parents. Just by existing, they give back to us.”
Owner Litovsky has already stopped taking a salary for the past three years, she says, but that hasn’t been enough. The store, which has been open for 10 years, has been operating at a loss, Litovsky says. Once she catches up on debts, she hopes to ensure that 2014 revenue will be enough to cover 2014 expenses.
The deadline for the CrowdTilt campaign is 11:50 p.m. Monday. So far the site has amassed pledges of more than $55,500; pledges will only be collected if the goal is reached.