For a large group of Mahwah businesses, Monday marks an uneasy anniversary. It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Sandy knocked out their power, and only one week since its been restored. Many local business owners say they are still recovering from the week of lost business.
As power outages lingered throughout the township, many businesses in Mahwah opened extra hours and accommodated big crowds following the storm. Businesses in Fardale, and in the shopping complex on Macarthur Boulevard, couldn’t do that.
“It still isn’t normal yet,” Jeff Mockler, owner of Mahwah Wine and Liquors, said Friday. “I have distributors who were totally wiped out, so I’m selling what I have. Shipments are also being delayed.”
Mockler said he didn’t think he’d take such a hit from the storm.
“I didn’t think power would go out that early, and I certainly didn’t think it’d stay out that long.”
Moe’s Southwest Grill General Manager Matt Marciniak agreed. “We are usually great about keeping power, because we are so close to the schools,” he said. “Plus, with so many residents in this area, we thought we’d be a priority [in terms of] power restoration.”
Moe’s had to buy and transport dry ice to its Mahwah location to keep food from going bad throughout the week. “Here, we only lost about $800 worth of food,” Marciniak said.
But, the owners’ other two Moe’s locations, in Paramus and Pompton Plains, lost all of the food they had in stock – about $3 to $4,000 worth of inventory at each store.
He estimates the Mahwah store lost 2,500 customers during the week it had to stay closed.
Peter Raia, the owner of Gallo’s Pharmacy, said it was not only a financial burden on him to be out of commission for a week, but a hardship for the customers who get their medications at his store. Not knowing he was going to get power back at around 3:30 in the afternoon last Monday, he opened the store without power from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., utilizing natural sunlight to dispense a five-day supply of medications to customers who needed it.
All business owners said they suffered a financial loss, and usually unforeseen consequences, as a result of the prolonged power outages.
Andrew Berenberg, owner of Tumble In Dry Cleaners in Fardale, said residents who were out of work as a result of the storm, “weren’t wearing their work clothes. So, I was out for a week, and when I got back, people didn’t have their usual dry cleaning orders,” he said.
“As a small business owner, this couldn’t have come at a worse time – right at the end of one month, and the beginning of another. I had taxes due, and rent due. I am definitely behind on my bills because of this.”
Still, local business owners in Mahwah have an optimistic attitude about their ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
“I have a very loyal customer base,” Mockler said. “I also own Ramsey Liquors on Main Street. We got our power back [a few days after the storm] there, and I put a sign in the window here telling customers we were open. It was a hit financially, but we’ll be able to bounce back.”
Marciniak echoed his sentiments. “We’ve actually been busier since we opened back up,” he said. “And really, we are lucky. All of our stores are here, and we are all safe.”
Which businesses helped you get through the storm? Which ones do you think need a little extra TLC because they lost customers due to the prolonged power outages? Let your neighbors know in the comments below.