Businesses stage a comeback

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On Nov. 23, state representatives came to Long Beach to help small businesses apply for $25,000 in emergency, low-interest loan assistance, funding that is being made available through a New York State Small Business Emergency Loan Fund established in the aftermath of the storm.

Still, Michael Kerr, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said that some owners have decided that it simply doesn’t pay to reopen. “The merchants are concerned about the help available to them,” Kerr said. “Some of the merchants are saying, ‘Why do I want a 20-year loan at this stage in my life?’ Many are trying to reopen, trying to collect money from their insurance companies, but the ones who don’t have insurance have to decide whether they want to rebuild or not.”

Unsound does not have flood insurance, Juan said, although the building’s landlord is covered for floor and wall damage. And like many business owners, Juan is a Long Beach resident contending with significant damage to his home, and has yet to move back in with his family.

“… [W]hen people set up their houses,” he said, “they can focus on their businesses.”

Unsound has teamed up with the nonprofit organization Waves for Water, which has volunteers in Long Beach, helping residents in the cleanup effort, and is raising money to help rebuild the store on its website,

While the National Retail Federation reported that a record $59.1 billion was spent in the U.S. over the four-day holiday weekend, a number of Long Beach businesses that have reopened said that business on Black Friday was less than brisk this year.

Ooh la la, at 134 E. Park Ave., which set up a tent days after the storm to give out free clothing and supplies to residents, said that the store will offer Long Beach residents 25 percent off store items through the holidays, and donate a percentage of sales to the American Red Cross.

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