Oprah Departure a Blow for Small Business

May 26, 2011  |  

(Reuters) – Maribel Lieberman’s New York chocolate business was reeling after the 9/11 attacks, until she got the call that changed everything.  “‘Maribel, you have to be ready,'” Lieberman recalls the editor of “O” magazine telling her after producers from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” saw the write-up on her sweets company, MarieBelle, and selected her product as one of Oprah’s “favorite things” for the 2002 holiday episode.  Lieberman clearly wasn’t prepared for the ensuing onslaught that included nonstop orders that crashed her website (www.mariebelle.com). In the heady days that followed, she worried about running out of chocolate, her supply of decorative tins from her Chinese manufacturer, the manual processing of credit card orders before she had the ability to handle them automatically, and the string of brutal 17-hour days that she and her fledgling staff endured.

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