We are a group of Shelter Island residents who enjoy the community of the Island and the immense contribution Marie Eiffel and her business has made to that community. Our community is now under unprecedented pressure and we need to come together to protect each other.
Covid-19 has brought huge challenges to Marie’s business. The impossibility of serving her customers directly and the elimination of most of her catering business combined with very high fixed costs and the fierce competition from large food distributors has led her to the conclusion that she cannot continue to operate the Marie Eiffel Market.
Unfortunately, because of the seasonal quality of many Shelter Island businesses Marie does not qualify for PPP. She has to raise capital to support her marketplace as opposed to being aided by the government.
Marie Eiffel’s story is one of resilience. After a near-fatal car accident in 2002, countless surgeries and several years of barely making ends meet, Marie discovered Shelter Island. Drawn by the island’s unique sense of community, she decided to make it her home. In 2013, she opened the Marie Eiffel Market. Over the past eight years, she has not only become the go-to place for exceptional French-inspired fresh food and groceries, she has created a place of gathering for the Shelter Island community and a place of attraction for visitors from elsewhere in the Hamptons – and beyond. She has also opened her table – and her heart – to the community over the years, hosting events from summer picnics to Thanksgiving dinners for community members. (Read more about Marie’s story in this article in Out East: https://outeast.com/stories/marie-eiffel-market-hamptons-shelter-island/.)
The Marie Eiffel Market is not a small business. It requires significant working capital in order to stay afloat. To open each spring and stay open through December, the business depends on a bank loan of $300,000, paid back as the business generates income over the summer. Without the steady stream of income Marie Eiffel has relied on in the past, she simply cannot repay this loan and pay her rent, utilities and repairs, purchase the freshest products and hire the staff (from cooks to baristas to cashiers) to maintain even a smaller operation.
Marie Eiffel and her partner Jason Penney have been working around the clock to keep the business running, but have come to the conclusion that, without a miracle, keeping Marie Eiffel Market open is just not sustainable. On June 1, Marie took the drastic step of giving notice on her lease at her iconic premises on North Ferry Road.
Unfortunately, despite Marie’s best efforts, because of the nature of her business model, the Marie Eiffel Market was not eligible for any significant PPP grants (she had no staff on salary when the funding became available), and was only able to get some $35,000, which does not cover even one month of summer costs. So the government lifeline that many other small businesses have been able to depend on to weather this storm is not available.
How can the many friends of Marie Eiffel and Shelter Island provide this lifeline? Marie Eiffel needs $300,000 to repay the bank loan by the end of July in order to remain in operation this summer just to break even.
There are three things we can do.
First, please contribute any amount you can on this GoFundMe site.
Second, please share this request with your friends who love Shelter Island and ask them to contribute any amount they can.
Third, please continue to support Marie Eiffel in the coming weeks by placing orders for your food needs (prepared foods, groceries and catering) with the Marie Eiffel Market.
Sitting back and doing nothing is not a strategy. Let’s support the things we care about. Let’s actively work to keep what makes our community vibrant.
Let’s save Marie Eiffel – and the institution she has created on Shelter Island.
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- Madeline Berger
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