Businesses stage a comeback

Many owners determined to reopen amid challenges after Hurricane Sandy


A month after Hurricane Sandy destroyed Unsound surf shop, at 359 E. Park Ave., leaving its interior filled with overturned surfboards and soggy clothing, co-owner Dave Juan said that the business had yet to receive a visit from his insurance company.

“We’re meeting somebody [on Wednesday] finally for the first time, but what are you going to do?” Juan said. “They’ve had so many claims — all of our claims are going to other companies. Our clothing racks and boards got damaged — so much stuff.”

Juan opened the business with fellow surfer Mike Nelson in 1997. Though their Quiksilver store in Oceanside sustained less damage in the storm and has reopened, the flooding at Unsound, considered something of a hub in the local surf community, caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

“Between New York and New Jersey, there’s enough damage to put everybody out of business,” Juan said of surf shops in the region. “We’re looking toward [reopening in] March or April. There’s a lot of damage — I think our area got sewage and not really flood water. We got it from the back; there’s like a drain thing we have in the back that’s really old. But the quicker we can rebuild, the quicker we can come back in.”

Unsound is one of many businesses in Long Beach that are either working to reopen or have opened their doors amid uncertainty. Others have suffered so much damage that they cannot — and in some cases may never — reopen. Still, most business owners said that they remain optimistic and have pledged to continue on.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration are providing loans to business owners. SBA disaster loans, which are part of the FEMA grant process, help homeowners, renters and businesses cover repair or rebuilding costs not covered by private insurance, or disaster-related damage repairs that exceed initial estimates. Businesses and nonprofit organizations can apply for loans of up to $2 million, with interest rates as low as 4 percent, to cover physical damage and economic injury caused by a disaster.

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