A group of Shelter Island residents have started a GoFundMe page to “Save Marie Eiffel – A Shelter Island Institution.”
To date, over $157,000 has been raised for the gourmet French marketplace that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The group is looking to hit the goal of $300,000 for the market to stay in business.
“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,” reads the GoFundMe.
The fundraiser states that because of the seasonality of her store, like many Shelter Island businesses, she did not qualify for PPP aid from the government.
“Corona came and we lost 85 percent of our business,” said Eiffel in a video posted on the page. “The overhead is $200,000 per year that the bank give to us, we are not going to be able to reimburse it, even if business picks up the summer. It’s a disaster for us.”
Supermodel Christie Brinkley posted her support on her instagram page on Friday: “Lunch on the dock in charming Dering Harbor @marie_eiffel @marieeiffelmarket The food was excellent ! I hear @ericripert loves it too.. so I wanted to let all the locals from #thehamptons know they need your help to stay afloat. We did our part by eating just about everything they offer and we would be delighted to come back and eat the rest!”
The GoFundMe gives Eiffel’s story. “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.”
The market was opened in 2013. Over the past eight years, she has offered French-inspired fresh food and groceries, while creating a place for the Shelter Island community to gather, stated the fundraiser.
“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,” states the GoFundMe. “On June 1, Marie took the drastic step of giving notice on her lease at her iconic premises on North Ferry Road.”
The page asks supporters to contribute any amount they can and to share the request with friends who love Shelter Island. It also urges visitors to continue to support the market in the coming weeks by placing food orders.