A year has passed since Superstorm Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey. Although much has been hyped about New Jersey being “open for business”, the businesses along the Jersey shore are still suffering. Much was said about having the boardwalk at Seaside Heights open by July 4 of this year but not much was done to help the surrounding communities, as well as the local businesses, get up and running.
As much as Gov. Chris Christie is championing Jersey is “Stronger than the Storm” in a commercial that cost approximately $4 million to create, funding to the people and businesses of the Jersey shore are lagging. What good is a $25 million aid package devoted to spreading the word that the boardwalk and businesses are open, when in actuality the locals who run these businesses are still having problems repairing their homes let alone some of their businesses.
Even if a business was lucky enough to get some form of aid to help in its reopening it didn’t mean that they would actually have business coming in. With the lack of places for tourists to stay fewer people flocked to the Jersey shore this summer. Those who were able to flock to the shore were unable to visit some of the famous attractions because they were still closed for repair. An additional blow to the Seaside Heights boardwalk was the devastating fire that struck on September 12th. It destroyed 50 businesses as well as some of the repaired boardwalk.
With rising costs to repair and insure their homes and businesses the local business owners depend on having tourists return to the shore to help them make ends meet. With the boardwalk not reopened until July, this tourist season was tremendously shortened.
As resilient as local business owners are their optimism is tapered by the understanding of what it takes to stay opened. Many of them have had difficulties getting aid and assistance because they didn’t meet the requirements while others didn’t want to take on any more debt than they had to. Without tourists showing up and spending money at their establishments their income stays stagnant.
If what’s happened along the Jersey shore is not enough of a reminder of what can happen to a business when disaster strikes all one has to do is go back to August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana and surrounding areas. Eight years later many of the businesses in those areas are still struggling to stay open.
With all the difficulties that small business owners are having getting back on their feet, the strength of their communities keep them going. They are grateful for their patronage but know that the only way they can truly say open is for their income to far exceed their expenses.
Let us hear from you. Was your business affected by Superstorm Sandy? Do you know of a business that was? Let us know how that business is doing now in the comment section below.
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