Tutti Frutti, other Park Ave. businesses reopen after storm
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Berkowitz said he estimates that the storm damage cost him between $10,000 to $20,000 in lost inventory and cleanup.
"We went to New Jersey yesterday and picked up some inventory, and we had a delivery this morning that showed up on time," he said.
Berkowitz and his family stayed in Long Beach during the storm, but evacuated to Mt. Sinai afterward. He decided to reopen when he learned that his business did not sustain major damage. He said there was a buzz on Tutti Frutti's Facebook page after the store announced earlier this week that it would reopen.
"I think some people are excited that we are opening," Berkowitz said. "People can come in, sit down and relax. The question is, 'who is in town?'"
His employees, many of them Long Beach residents, have also been impacted by the storm, he explained.
"Our employees are excited to come back but it's been tough," he said. "They're all hourly employees, and two weeks with no income hurts everyone. You still have rent, insurance ... this is going to hurt a lot of people."
He said he is not sure how long it will be before downtown Long Beach begins to thrive again. He said he is aware that many businesses throuhgout the city have sustained significant damage and may not be able to reopen. Still, he said he wants to remain optimistic.
"Hopefully this will create some normacly in town," Berkowitz said. "We're not even sure who is staying and it's going to take a while to rebuild, but we're optimistic. We'll come back better, with new houses, and hopefully the boardwalk will be rebuilt. Whether or not that will be done in time for the summer season, I don't know."