Businesses stage a comeback

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“Most of our block is not even reopening,” said owner Jennifer Montiglio, adding that Ooh la la did not suffer major damage. “No one is really coming from out of town to Long Beach. Black Friday, this was like our first busier weekend. A lot of it is so personal and sensitive because people lost everything they had, so we can’t complain that business hasn’t been good. Everybody knows someone, whether it’s their family or friends, who has it worse than they do. I think it’s going to be really tricky for the next two years, but I think [business] will be back. If we didn’t believe that, we would have closed.”

“Half the houses in Long Beach are dark still,” said Heidi Harris Weitz, co-owner of Frippery, at 164 E. Park Ave., adding that the shop had to restock inventory that was never delivered because of the storm. “Our business is so down it’s ridiculous — it’s not even a quarter of what it was — but we’re glad that we have had some business and that our customers are OK and coming back.”

Seth Pilevsky, owner of Long Beach Cinemas, said that he is not sure when the theater will reopen. “There was a lot of damage, and we’ve found that we’re doing the same dance that everyone else is doing with their insurance companies: waiting,” Pilevsky said. “According to FEMA, you have to keep some damaged items for assessment. Homeowners are getting quicker answers than owners of commercial businesses, but that’s obviously more of an urgent matter. Ultimately we’re going to reopen — there’s an emotional connection to the theater.”

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