Jehovany Diaz, 50, hopes that Election Day brings New Yorkers out of their homes in large quantities. Diaz isn’t running for office today nor is he politically motivated; he’s the store manager at Ninth Avenue Wine in Hell’s Kitchen.
Outside his store Diaz proudly displays a sign stating, “Come in and elect your wine on Election Day.” For Diaz, the election poses a potential win-win situation. “People come matter no what. If they win they celebrate, if they lose they get drunk,” he said.
It’s an important opportunity: For the past three years, Diaz’ store has been losing money. “We were $80,000 in debt,” said Diaz. “We were almost bankrupt.”
However, Diaz remains optimistic. In light of Hurricane Sandy, customers have been taking comfort in the spirits that his store sells. “People were coming to us and saying to us they were glad we were open,” he said. “The hurricane…it helped us. We don’t like to say this, but it’s true.”
Ninth Avenue Wine, which is open seven days a week, until midnight every day but Saturday, has been in business for 75 years, and Diaz has been its manager for the past 10. As the polls close, Diaz expects the wine-lined store to be filled with customers. He’d like to see a continuation of the sales trend that started with $61,000 since Hurricane Sandy hit. “We don’t even make this much during Christmas,” he said.