Businesses Still Hurting a Year After Hurricane Sandy

Some who saw their businesses destroyed last year during Hurricane Sandy are still struggling to get back to normal.

By Lauren Wanko
NJ Today

“I have dealt with so much loss and so much devastation over the last 12 months, that I don’t even want. I’m sorry. I’m done with Sandy, I want to look at 2014 and only better things to come,” said co-owner of Chadwick Island Marina Robyn Bartel.

We first met Robyn Bartel, Chadwick Island Marina owner in May. The business was open, but just about everything was lost to the Superstorm, including half their customer base. That’s what she estimated back then.

“I would say it’s more like 75 percent of my customers. I have 202 slips, 118 were open. I think the word out there that it is business as usual, everything’s open, things are fine and dandy, but it’s not.” Bartel said.

Boats weren’t the priority for many residents saddled with repairing and rebuilding their homes. Sandy also wiped out the marina’s gas dock.

Today the gas dock is still in a state of disrepair. The Bartels have to replace the fuel pumps and the docks. They estimate that will cost about half a million dollars. They hope work will begin this winter so that the gas stop could be up and running by the spring time.

Farther North in Bay Head, Curtis’ Central Market’s deli just reopened four weeks ago.

“It’s just been an unbelievable struggle. It’s not over yet for many people,” said Bill Curtis.

We first introduced you to Curtis, mayor and landlord, in May. Sandy completely wiped out the town’s only market. At the time, Curtis received a fraction of the insurance settlement he originally anticipated so he hired a public adjustor who secured more money for the rebuild. But still not as much as Curtis expected.

“For months since our last interview till today I had nothing, no money, just my own money, my wife’s money, my family’s money,” Curtis said.

The market isn’t fully stocked yet. The biggest blow? Being closed during the peak summer season.

“I think we lost a lot of customers over the summer and that’s a sad thing. I just hope they come back,” Curtis said.

Nearby, customers are coming back to Mueller’s Bakery. The business just reopened in June.

“People bring us flowers all the time. Everyone’s so happy we’re back open,” Grace Freiermuth, Mueller’s bakery employee said.

But not every business is back open. Some are still boarded up.

“We’re all such a close knit community here and to see some of the doors close down the street, it’s disheartening,” Tiffany Fattizzi, Muller’s bakery employee said.

As for the Bartels, the family is still living in a rental and they don’t expect to be back home for another 10 months. Tomorrow’s anniversary isn’t something Robyn wants to focus on. Like so many storm weary residents, it’s a day she rather forget.
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