SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – “I understand that there has to be priorities such as hospitals, but to leave a downtown dark for ten days is criminal,” said Paul Birrell of DeliveryNow.com on Park Avenue in Scotch Plains. “It is also criminal to not have some type of central source of information. No one can even begin to tell us when we might get power. This is the perfect way to kill a downtown.”
Many other irate business owners are expressing similar views. Vincent Losavio of John’s Meat Market was cleaning out his story by torchlight on Monday. “I’ve lost thousands and thousands of dollars of inventory, not to mention being out of business this long. I’m still waiting to hear what, if any, of this is covered by insurance.” However, he has managed to get his phone back online and is currently taking orders of Thanksgiving turkeys.
Dr. Frank DiLollo was still manning his post in his office. “I can’t just not work. I have to do what I can.” His enterprising receptionist was calling patients who had phone service and letting them know that the doctor was “in”.
Other businesses such as Best Pro Cleaners and Maria’s and have been ‘limping’ by with the use of small generators. However, even if they manage to open, too many of their customers are huddled at home against the elements assuming that no one is open.
There are a lucky few on Park Avenue who had power restored earlier this week. Marion Jewelers and Just Nails got power and immediately opened their doors as phone charging and warming stations.
Part of Park Avenue got power back late on Tuesday only to lose it again on Wednesday. “Who is our advocate, who is making sure that PSE&G makes us a priority? We are losing our businesses and no one seems to care,” said Birrell.
Today, Assemblyman John Bramnick put out a message saying that Governor Chris Christie has organized a conference call where Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), New Jersey Economic Development Authority and New Jersey Business Action Center officials will provide updates and answer questions about assistance and support to business and individuals in states affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The call will take place on Thursday, November 8 at 2 pm. Simply dial in 1-888-621-9649 and enter event number: 411483