Brooklyn Wholesaler Starts from Scratch After Losing it All in Fire
Tina Benitez-Eves -- Gifts and Dec, 3/26/2012 2:39:54 PM
BROOKLYN, NY — Sandra Dalmazio will never forget the morning of March 7, 2012. She lost everything-records, merchandise, samples, orders and more-inside her Brooklyn, NY shop, Dalmazio Gifts. First opened in 1980 by her parents, the gift wholesaler offered up everything from wall décor, book cases and lighting to paper goods, glassware, linens, apparel, crystal and house wares and more for weddings and other special events. All of this disappeared following a four-alarm fire, believed to have started by outlets around the store's main work station.
The fire removed a piece of history and also set Dalmazio back $500,000 in lost merchandise. Fortunately, Dalmazio had insurance, which should covered everything lost in the 4,000-square-foot showroom and production space. "My father always said ‘insurance is not a luxury, it's a necessity,' says Dalmazio. "We always struggled to pay the insurance, but as a business we made sure we always had it."
Prior to the tragedy, Dalmazio and her employees were working on multiple weddings and nearly 50 trade show orders, which were all lost in the fire. Dalmazio quickly tried to salvage some clients she had corresponded with via email and says most were people understanding of the catastrophe. Some customers even resent their original receipts, so Dalmazio moved fast.
The Wednesday afternoon following the fire, she already set up shop at an employee's house and started reordering materials. By Thursday, a photographer friend offered up their space, where Dalmazio continues work surrounded by ribbons, papers, crystal. "We didn't stop," says Dalmazio, who had one order-complete with center pieces, place cards, invitations and more-completely fulfilled and overnighted just in time for a Sunday event the same week of the fire. She rented a new temporary space, four blocks away from the original building, that will be available on April 1. This is where Dalmazio will work for the next year until she can return back to the original location and eventually reopen.
To date, 90 percent of Dalmazio orders have been fulfilled despite the tragedy just a few weeks earlier. Staying focused and moving ahead is helping Dalmazio deal with the tragedy. She's even getting ready to showcase at the National Stationery Show in May. "We're just starting from scratch," she says.
Customers inquiring about orders placed with Dalmazio Gifts can contact Sandra at 718.645.4255 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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