Couple Put Their Clients' Precious Memories Ahead of Their Own After Sandy
As owners of Transfer City USA, they've spent more than two decades turning their clients' old photos and videos into digital files that don't wear out.
When their Staten Island office was flooded during Hurricane Sandy last year, the couple managed to save more than 90 percent of those memories thanks to hard work and generous donations. A little creativity and about 100 pounds of rice helped, too.
"In 23 years, we never lost a job, never ruined a job," said Mrs. Plissner. "I don't know how we saved them, but we did it."
Thousands of dollars worth of specialized equipment was ruined, but the couple managed to retrieve most of their clients' photos, VHS tapes and even old 8mm and 16mm films.
The basement of their home was also completely flooded –- destroying more equipment and their own personal mementos. Mrs. Plissner managed to salvage her wedding dress and a handful of photos.
"I hate to say it this way, but I was trying to hard to save customers work -- I let my own work, my own stuff go," she said in January.
They spent weeks working from their kitchen and empty basement to recover their business.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get any help from any organization," Plissner said, "so we had to borrow money from family, and we managed."
Neighbors and friends in the business helped to donate equipment and materials to help them re-open last January, but they still have a long way to go before they're totally recovered.
More coverage of Sandy: One Year Later
Kathleen Caulderwood is a multimedia reporter who uses video to tell stories about New York City, where she lives after moving back from China in 2012. She also writes about business and international economics from time to time. Follow her @katcaulder.