BUSINESS & ECONOMY

South Jersey Businesses Assess Economic Impact of Saturday’s Storm

John Kurtz is the local florist in town who found himself riding out the storm in his shop early last Saturday morning. Kurtz and his team were preparing for the town’s annual celebration which was to take place across the street in the park the next day.

“The winds were just about the most incredible thing I ever heard,” he recalled. “The building shook. We had the wind damage. We had just set up our event the next day.”

The celebration was put on hold. The park is still a bit of a mess and Kurtz and other small business owners lost thousands of dollars, as power went down and wasn’t restored until Thursday.

Kurtz, who is also the president of the May’s Landing Merchant Association, found himself turning away customers and losing merchandise because he had no air conditioning.

He had flowers scheduled to be delivered to local funeral homes but did not have the product or couldn’t get the product refrigerated.

New Jersey emergency management officials are still counting up the losses from the storm, which knocked out power to more than 200 thousand people in South Jersey and closed countless businesses.

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In Mays Landing, the impact on small businesses was widely felt. The local bakery was also preparing for the town celebration.

Chris Groome, who runs B Squared Bake Shop, says he never witnessed such damage and also counts his losses in the thousands.

He predicts it will take a few days to get the word out that his shop is reopen for business. “It wasn’t just us but the whole main street, and all the way down to the courthouse is without power. I think people were just avoiding the whole are in general.

While the storm also ravaged Susan Devacchio’s hardware business, there is at least a little upside for her. Her store ran out of rakes, bags, and other supplies needed for a cleanup on Monday.

The business owners who spoke to NJ Today say they have, so far, not heard of any direct financial assistance. But help could be on the way soon. Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have arrived in the region to survey the damage. And they have a lot of ground to cover.

The county is still assessing the damage and then will make a recommendation to the governor if the state should ask for federal assistance.

Andrew Schmertz files this report from May’s Landing.