Lady Moo Moo owner Steve Lipschutz was prepared for Hurricane Henri.
He and his staff had gone into the basement at the shop at 365 Chauncey Street and raised everything in there at least a foot off the ground.
When they came back and found not a drop of water, they thought they were prepared for Hurricane Ida, too. Like many other Brooklynites, they weren’t expecting the rain that came Wednesday night.
“We had three feet of water in the basement when we came in the morning,” Lipschutz said.
“The water basically took everything, it picked up freezers and filing cabinets and everything, and basically threw it all over the place.”
Lady Moo Moo is a beloved Bed-Stuy institution. In its sixth season in the neighborhood, Lipschutz said they’ve always relied on their regulars to survive, as there isn’t a lot of foot traffic where they are.
Despite this, over the years it grew to — pre-pandemic — having a staff of 15 people and doing wholesale ice cream for hotels and restaurants, as well as serving cones in the weekends.
The pandemic set the shop back a lot, but Lipschutz said they got a lot of orders for tubs during quarantine, and they’d just hired back their fourth staff member.
After clawing back from the pandemic, the flooding damage was “overwhelming,” he said. Especially when he realized it wasn’t going to be covered by insurance.
“First we put our boots on and realized the only way to remedy the situation was to get our hands dirty and to do it. And then the next step was to call the insurance company.”
Lipschutz called, filed the claim, and then started itemizing what he’d lost. Freezers, tools, equipment, supplies, t-shirts, paper products for the shop. About 50 items down the list, he decided to call back and make sure he was covered.
He was not. The insurance policy excluded flood damage, he said.
That’s when his wife had the idea to start a GoFundMe to recoup the approximately $10,000 worth of equipment lost.
“We fully understand that we are not the only ones that this storm impacted. So, we will do our part to help others. However, if you could assist us in any way, it will be greatly appreciated,” they said.
Within three hours the shop had already reached half of its goal, and by Friday evening it had raised more than $14,000.
I don’t even know what to make of it,” Lipschutz said.” Local businesses, neighbors, my family members… Some people donated $2, one donated $2,000. It actually hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Many of the donations came from caring regulars hoping to see their favorite ice cream store back up and running again. One donor wrote on the GoFundMe, “Just paying you back for all the free samples.”
Lipschutz said all the funds raised will be going strictly to rebuilding and restocking all of Lady Moo Moo’s supplies.
Luckily, the store itself was not damaged, so keep an eye on Lady Moo Moo’s Instagram for reopening news.
“Hopefully by tomorrow, Saturday, we will be open again,” Lipschutz said.
“Ice cream has a healing power.”
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