You've got questions, we've got answers


We tapped some of Dumbo's finest minds to give you advice in the time of Coronavirus. From business advice to what's next on the loan landscape, from digital marketing to delivery options - we hope you will gain some new insights as you navigate these very challenging times. Watch the highlights and review main take aways below!

Take Aways from Past Webinars



  • Steve Berg from Lytical Ventures
  • Ricardo Devallon from Next Street
  • Sanjay Mody from Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP


  • Engage with your financial institution as soon as possible. If you don't already have a banking relationship, reach out to a lender who is processing PPP loans.
  • Smaller financial institutions may be more flexible in the PPP process. A list of lenders close to Dumbo can be found here.
  • PPP loans require payroll documentation. If you don't have a traditional payroll structure, or work as an independent contractor, you can still supply documents to show your average payroll. These include 1099-MISCs, W-2s, bank statements, or internally generated profit and loss statements.



  • Alex Bellos, West Elm
  • Aaron Able, West Elm



  • Focus on internet advertising and outreach to your target audiences. People are more likely to engage and accept multiple outreach efforts.
  • People are more accepting of multiple E-blasts in a week, and don't feel as bothered by it. Facebook advertising can also be effective, as there is not much competition in the moment for people's attention.
  • Other online advertising like Instagram can also be effective at this time. This is a great time to repurpose/reuse old content on your social media profiles.

 In-Store Experiences

  • Reinvent how customers can interact with your storefront. Set up appointments with customers for 1on1 shopping experiences, using google forms or other online tools.
  • Arrange for virtual consultations to help clients make decisions that would be hard to do without being in store.
  • Make customers feel safe by demonstrating a commitment to cleanliness and safety in your business. Make sanitization and cleaning efforts visible, supply sanitizer to customers coming to your store.

Media/Marketing Strategies


  • Peggy Panosh, Peggy Panosh Consulting
  • Adam Lerman, Associate Creative Director, Mustache Content Agency


Communicate what your day to day offerings are in the clearest way possible.

  • Make it visual, top of feed, a highlighted story, bio, and more. WE ARE OPEN or WE ARE CLOSED
  • Do you have appt’s open now? If not, when?
  • Highlight your pivots

Provide utilitarian tips. They tend to create more engagement.

  • How To’s and DIY’s are popping off on Tiktok. If you have a skill, offer it up!
  • CEO statements are good, but make your Daily Operations info a separate thing. Don’t bury it in that stuff. We want to be able to glance at a feed and get What They’re Doing Today.
  • In other words, seperate sentiment from utilitarian information.

Create content that activates all your stakeholders?

  • How do you communicate w/ all them?
  • Does it change from stakeholder to stakeholder, or can you speak to all of them at once?

Make strong choices take the risk of being interesting

  • The rule books have been burnt and thrown out the window. Just do something that you want to do. More personality and humanity makes people connect to you. Slick doesn’t feel warm. Small biz’ want to appeal on a human level.
  • Satisfying to watch. #oddlysatisfying.
  • Reach out to local influencers.
  • Create likely and unlikely partnerships. For example, BK Yoga, lead a corporate Zoom class for Dumbo businesses! Can you partner with the Poetry Shop to include a meditative excerpt of poetry during Shavasana?

Restaurants/Food Industry


  • Yaniv Cohen, CEO, Westville
  • Elise Reynolds, General Manager, Soho House
  • Allison Wagner, Director of Marketing and Communications, Soho House


  • Promote direct ordering through the restaurant as opposed to using third parties (Grubhub etc.)
  • Promote your business online! Make it clear you are open, even if on a limited scale
  • As weather improves, think about how to reach local foot traffic walking in Dumbo. Street presence in front of your business can help reach individuals who may not be looking online
  • Although the future is still unclear, start strategizing on how you might adapt your business when things return to "normal"

Covid-19 handbook from Black Sheep Restaurant Group

Take a look at the link below for a helpful guide to many Covid-19 related planning elements for restaurants, including guest management, team organization, delivery/takeaway tips, and more!

Dream Team Panelists

Steve Berg Steve is a Partner at Lytical Ventures and a member of its investment committee. Steve oversees day-to-day operations, including sourcing and winning deals, and managing the investment portfolio. Steve has held positions in strategy and corporate development at Emulex (NYSE: ELX) and as a sell-side analyst covering technology at Punk, Ziegel & Co. Steve holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University and a BS in business from Miami University. He also hosts "Intangibles", a podcast about traits, behaviors, and qualities that entrepreneurs can cultivate to help be successful.

Ricardo Devallon is the Director of the NYC Business Solutions Lower Manhattan Center. As Center Director, Ricardo leads a team of talented Account Managers to connect NYC-based businesses to a suite of services including business education, legal services, funding, and more. While at Next Street, Ricardo has supported and lead multiple initiatives including partnering with CDFIs to supply capital to NYC based small businesses, working directly with entrepreneurs to assist in capacity building, and working with local stakeholders to provide impact driven solutions to entrepreneurs, particularly those in under-served communities throughout NYC.

Sanjay Mody is a Partner at the law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP. He advises public authorities and private investors and developers on urban infrastructure, transportation projects, and real estate matters. Sanjay also advises private sector clients on federal, state and local loan and grant programs. He is a frequent commentator on infrastructure, economic development, and governance issues.

Alex Bellos is the President of West Elm, the fastest growing brand within the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio. In his role, he is responsible for the merchandising, product development, inventory management, creative services, visual merchandising, brand finance and operations of the brand. In particular, he is focused on driving the Responsible Retail movement, identifying and facilitating opportunities for economic empowerment among communities where West Elm operates.

Aaron Able is the Vice President of Content at West Elm. In his role, he is responsible for building the brand’s editorial voice and campaigns across its digital, print, video and social media channels. Able joined West Elm in 2011 where he has led the brand’s early adoption of social media and founded its blog, Front & Main. Prior to West Elm, Able held editorial and art direction leadership positions at Apartment Therapy, a leading home lifestyle destination and Ziff Davis Media. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Magazine Journalism and Fine Art from Ball State University.

Adam Lerman is the Associate Creative Director of Original & Branded Content, as well as Chair of Sustainability for Mustache. He develops content campaigns for brands, as well as TV and digital shows. Some of his favorite work includes the viral series of fake 911 calls for Netflix's Paradise PD, the educational trap song "Circle of Life" for the VICELAND hit show Most Expensivest with 2 Chainz, and an absurdly straightforward global campaign for Dutch airline KLM about the fact that they're an airline, which was so matter-of-fact that CNN and The New York Times couldn't help but report on its "charmingly clueless approach" to humor.

Peggy Panosh is leading Marketing, Partnership + Experiential expert. She advises clients requiring audience connection, brand clarity and growth strategies for their businesses, events and products, including: Oprah’s 2020 Vision 9 city arena Tour;  WW (formerly Weight Watchers); Advertising Week- New York, Europe, APAC, LATAM, Asia and Africa; Publicis Media, Spark Foundry; SY Partners and OWN|Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Yaniv Cohen is CEO of Westville. Yaniv joined the Westville team in 2003, and became co-owner in 2005. Westville currently operates seven restaurant locations and one bakery/commissary, and employs over 300 people.

Elise Reynods is Dumbo House's first female General Manager. A native Aussie from the land down under, Elise has over 20 years of experience of F&B in all facets of hospitality. Her vibrant energy and positive vibes are felt by all who work and meet with her.