Businesses Try To Stay Afloat After Taking Damage From Sandy
It's back to business for many store owners in the Rockaways, but it's certainly not business as usual for most as they try to stay afloat in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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It took weeks and tens of thousands of dollars to get Lily's Nail and Spa up and running again, but Lily Wang said she doesn't have enough customers to help cover her debt.
"Not very busy," she said. "A lot of customers, they need to fix their house."
The store had been open for two months when Sandy struck, destroying just about everything inside. Wang thought about closing up shop, but now, she's among the many Rockaway business owners who are trying to rebuild and survive, even if the customers are few and far between. They said it hasn't been easy.
"We're already in debt enough, and we have to go out and repair our business on our own," said Frank Giambra of Mr. Giuseppe's Barbershop. "We're not left with much help."
"I went to FEMA twice," Wang said. "They told me, go to SBA, but SBA only do loans. But I don't want a loan. I want help."
But even though they are mired in debt, not all are hurting. Revenue is up at the New Quick Spin Laundromat, where they are working around the clock to keep up with the demand.
"People drop off laundry, about four or five bags," said Tiffany Gao of the New Quick Spin Laundromat. "They have no clothes. They need clean clothes. So I found an extra help to help my business."
But even with all this foot traffic, the owners say they are just working to keep the business going. All the machines were damaged in the hurricane.
"Every machine, we change it," Gao said. "We spent a lot of money to fix."
That effort was not lost on their customers and other Rockaway residents, who were worried that the storm would drive this and other businesses off the peninsula. But many appear to be rebuilding.
"There is still a lot more that have to open up, but it's good to see the few that are open opened," said resident Alice White.
Hopefully, they can stay that way. For many, the future is still very uncertain.