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Hoylman honors businesses that braved the pandemic

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State Senator Brad Hoylman is honoring local businesses that kept their doors open through the COVID crisis.

He recently handed out the Empire Award — the state Senate’s highest award for local businesses— to three merchants in his district: C.O Bigelow Chemists, Madman Espresso and Mikey Likes It Ice Cream. The award is given in recognition of the merchants’ excellence and community involvement.

“These small businesses never closed over the last year, continuing to serve New Yorkers even during the pandemic’s darkest days — even though some big national chains shut their doors and abandoned Manhattan,” Hoylman said.

Brad Hoylman with Ian Ginsberg and his son Alec. (Courtesy Brad Hoylman’s Office)

“I’m honored to present the Empire Award for Small Business to these local establishments and encourage New Yorkers to continue to shop local and help me identify their favorite ‘mom and pops’ worthy of recognition. Congratulations Ian Ginsberg of C.O. Bigelow, Marco Vacchi of Madman Espresso and Mikey Cole of Mikey Likes It Ice Cream!”

“My son Alec and I are extremely honored and proud to accept this prestigious award on behalf of our amazing team here at C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries,” Ginsberg said. “In true spirit, they have been here on the front lines every single day since the pandemic began. They are incredibly passionate about their patients and the community at large and felt a deep responsibility to be here for them. For over 183 years and four generations in my family, C.O. Bigelow has had a deep commitment to the health and welfare of the community, and recognitions like these reaffirm our mission and values. We’d also like to give a sincere thanks to our friend and colleague, Senator Brad Hoylman, for this honor and his untiring work on behalf of our great city.”

Marco Vacchi accepts his Empire Award from Brad Hoylman. (Courtesy Brad Hoylman’s Office)

Madman Espresso’s Vacchi said, “We are thrilled to receive this coveted award! Our team showed such dedication and commitment to being a stronghold in our community, fighting the battle against the pandemic. As owners, we cannot be more proud of our employees, true New Yorkers who can meet any challenge that comes their way. We want to dedicate the Empire Award to them and share it with all the customers that supported us during this difficult time.”

“This award means a lot to me,” Cole said, “because one of the main pillars of my business is giving back to the community and being a positive example to the people that we serve. I grew up a few blocks from my first shop in the Lower East Side and I always wanted to find a way to reinvest into it and make a positive impact. I’m happy that I was able to accomplish that and will continue to uplift this and any neighborhood my shops are located in. Thank you.”

Bigelow pharmacy is located at 414 Sixth Ave., between Eighth and Ninth Sts. Madman Espresso has three cafes, including one at 54 University Place. Mikey Likes It Ice Cream is at 199 Avenue A, between 12th and 13th Sts.

Hoylman’s office is asking for people to nominate other restaurants and small businesses that never shut down and helped support New Yorkers during this incredibly hard year.

To nominate a business, e-mail hoylman@senate.gov with “Empire Award Nomination” in the subject line.

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