Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Survival after Sandy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Survival after Sandy

Article excerpt

An artisan bread factory in Carlstadt is up and running again but needs a $2 million loan to replace four ovens destroyed by floodwater.

A Moonachie importer of German chocolates and other delicacies is struggling with a diminished inventory and needs money to replace ruined warehouse equipment.

The owners of a truck parts and service company nearby, who were looking to sell before superstorm Sandy arrived, have gone out of business after the loss of most of their inventory -- worth $60,000 to $75,000 -- chased off would-be buyers.

Three months after Sandy came and went, some North Jersey businesses are still in its grip. While many that lost power and sustained damage are back to normal, some that were in the path of the flooding that washed through Moonachie and Carlstadt after a surge sent river water over a berm are gone or near the breaking point.

Destroyed equipment, lost sales, cash flow problems, damaged customer confidence and continued wrangling over insurance claims are just some of the legacies of the storm.

"There are a lot of businesses struggling out there," said Jim Kirkos, chief executive of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. "I fear that more businesses than I want to admit will be forced to shut their doors."

Many are locked in a waiting game, unable to move ahead in their recovery until their insurance company determines how much, if any, it will pay and cuts a check, or the Small Business Administration, the main source of federal assistance to Sandy-damaged business, approves a loan.

Lost customers

Carlstadt-based Pictorial Corp., a 75-year-old high-quality printing business, closed for a month after 18 inches of water flooded its 200,000-square-foot plant. It has returned to about 90 percent of its production capacity, said its managing director, Donald Samuels. But it's struggling to meet customer orders without two binding and packing machines that await the return of electronic components sent away for repair.

The company, which has 200 employees, also is waiting for the remaining $700,000 of a $1 million federal flood insurance payment, and to hear how much it will get from a private insurance policy for damages totaling $10 million, including lost sales, Samuels said.

"Some customers knew that we were damaged and, because everything that we do is time-sensitive, took their work to other printers," Samuels said. "Only time will tell if we lost clients on a long- term basis."

Time has run out for Fleet Source, a truck parts and service business in Moonachie, which closed on Dec. 31, two months after its repair and parts warehouse was flooded. The business, which had no flood insurance, had been for sale.

Fleet Source Leasing, another company under the same ownership, was sold after the storm, said Bob Lillis, vice president of Fleet Source. But interest in the parts and service business disappeared, he said.

"The inventory was not available for sale," he said, and prospective buyers were wary about future floods. "They said, 'Well if it happened this time, it could happen again.' "

In neighboring Carlstadt, Peter Lobel, co-owner of Tribeca Oven, which makes frozen artisan bread, said the company has put many -- but not all -- of its problems behind it.

The factory, which has 250 employees, was closed for three weeks, largely because of the destruction of the computerized parts of its sophisticated ovens and dough making machines. Much of the electronics had to be sent to Virginia for repair, or replaced.

By mid-November, two new dough-pummeling machines arrived from Italy at a cost of about $100,000. Lobel said he's unsure whether they are covered by insurance. The supplier was able to send them quickly because one of his European clients was touched by Tribeca Oven's plight and agreed to have his own machine order shipped to New Jersey, Lobel said.

The bakery learned that it will get a smaller insurance payout than expected, after discovering that only one of its two buildings was covered by flood insurance. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.