Nearly a year has passed since Hurricane Sandy devastated Red Hook. Today much of the cleaning up has been done and many local shops and restaurants are back open, but the economic after-effects of the storm are ongoing. At least four area merchants have closed for good and many others continue to struggle as they fight for federal assistance.
According to Crain’s, most Red Hook businesses that received storm damage were faced with $30,000 to $125,000 in repair bills, in addition to lost sales revenue. And some businesses have simply given up on federal assistance after being faced with seemingly neverending red tape.
“People think that things are open, and we’re back to normal,” Monica Byrne, co-owner of Home/Made, a restaurant on Van Brunt Street, told Crain’s. “But what people don’t see is the huge amount of debt that everyone has had to take on, or whether they are able to make their payroll or able to make their rent — or whether they owe their electrician almost $10,000, like we do.”
A U.S. Small Business Association spokesperson added that the agency has approved more than 2,000 disaster loans to New York businesses, totaling some $264 million. However, Red Hook business owners say that actually getting your hands on storm relief is no simple matter and that their struggle to keep Red Hook’s economy strong will continue. [Crain’s] – Christopher Cameron