Like many local business owners, Juan and Nelson are Long Beach residents contending with significant damage to their homes as well — Juan is currently living in Island Park and has yet to move back in with his family.
However, when it came to gutting the store and helping the business reopen, Unsound received a strong show of support from the community and volunteers.
“We were working super-late hours and super-long days to get the store reopened, putting together the pieces,” Juan said. “It was unbelievable — so many volunteers came down to help.”
The Quiksilver Foundation, the company’s charitable non-profit organization, was among the groups that stepped up by making a donation to help the business. Long Trunks, a local clothing start-up company, recently helped raise money for Unsound and others through sales of its iconic Bring on the Elephants apparel aimed at aiding the post-Sandy recovery process. The Tommy Brull Foundation also raised money for Unsound, Swingbelly’s and Maritime Surf at its annual fundraiser last November.
“The thing with Unsound is that it’s a completely homegrown surf shop — they started when they were young, and it’s grown to be the biggest shop in the Long Beach area,” Brull said. “It was important to get them back up on their feet — not only did they lose a business, but they lost their cars and their homes. If you’re a business owner and a homeowner in this town, you got hit with both ends of it a lot harder.”
The new store now sports a redesigned and more spacious interior that wouldn’t be out of place in SoHo. It now boasts exposed brick walls, and even includes a display area made out of wood from the iconic boardwalk, which was demolished in January.
“It was difficult redesigning the store while we were gutting our houses,” Juan said. “But we’re super happy with the way it came out — we never would have imagined being closed for this long, ever.”
Juan said that his employees were excited to return to work, and the support from the community was so overwhelming during its reopening weekend at the end of March,that lines stretched out the door.