Belle Harbor Barber Works To Fix Home And Business After Sandy
As Hurricane Sandy victims continue to pick up the pieces, many have the daunting task of trying to rebuild on two fronts: at home and at work. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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It's another slow night at Mr Giuseppe's Barbershop, but Frank Giambra says he's just happy the business his father started nearly 50 years ago is still here. The place was always buzzing with customers before Hurricane Sandy struck and the flooded the shop.
It took Giambra weeks to repair the store, including his father's original barber chairs. The salt water left them rusted and corroded. He spent three days restoring them.
"It was heartbreaking," he says. "I was cleaning these chairs on the last day with tears in my eyes. I had to save his chairs. Everything else is going to have to go eventually."
The shop is functional, at least. The same cannot be said about the beauty salon he opened next to the barbershop three years ago. It's completely out of commission.
"We basically had to throw out all of our equipment next door and we're trying to rebuild that," he said. "And I live around the corner, too, so it's trying to get your house and your business together at the same time is not easy."
After a 12-hour day, Giambra closes up shop and heads home to try to repair his house. The basement and first floor had severe water damage, but Giambra says he's one of the lucky ones.
"Some of my great neighbors lost their homes, so I'm fortunate," he says. "We just do what we have to do."
So he gets to work, gutting everything down to the studs before returning to his business in the morning, where he will work another 12-hour shift before returning home.
Despite all his troubles, Giambra remains optimistic. He continues to leave the light on inside the barbershop with the shades up like his father did for decades. That's because he says the business will be back and it will be strong.