Lower Manhattan’s Zig Zag Comeback

September 12th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. It is a day of reflection for all of us.

I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was playing a round of golf at Wasatch State Park; it was the worst round of golf I’ve ever played in my life. I was so distracted and so worried about the victims in New York City.

Of course I was also thinking constantly about the safety of my family. We had a trip planned to Nepal and were scheduled to leave America in two weeks. We considered cancelling the trip, but decided to go for it once we heard that travel was safe. I am so glad we decided to go—that trip became one of my life’s best zig zag stories.

On that trip, we met our little Sherpa girl, Nawong. She introduced my family to a vision that is very much a part of everything we do today. That mission is to educate and empower children all over the world who lack the opportunity to learn. Nawong is now my adopted daughter and a college graduate.

America has had it’s own zigs and zags in the last decade to make a come back from the devastation of September 11, 2001. Just this last week, we heard from New York’s Mayor Bloomberg about the last decade’s events that have helped bring Lower Manhattan back from the rubble.

This is a great zig zag story. Lower Manhattan was home to hundreds of businesses and was considered the world’s financial district. It was a bustling business center, but in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, it was vacant and hollow. About 14,000 businesses were impacted by the event.

Ten years later, Lower Manhattan is not quite back to where it was, but it is well on its way. Mayor Bloomberg said New York has seen the greatest population growth, the biggest commercial development and biggest cuts in crime in the area surrounding the World Trade Centers site.

Small-business owners like the Gandias zig zagged back to success by conserving costs while they could not access their Greenwich Jewelers store because it was too close to burning rubble. They also zagged by adding an online element to their business, which they had never considered previously. This drove Greenwich Jewelers to profitability and the opportunity to rebuild and expand, even though they were in the midst of a national tragedy.

Today the Gandia’s are on to zag number two by adding more resources through adding more product and more space.

Zig zagging is a way of life—particularly when the unexpected comes. It is interesting to note that while the Gandias found great success by zig zagging, others failed by giving up in the face of trial. Don’t let failure bog you down. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep zig zagging. So many times the unexpected brings you results you never even thought of.

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