Wary About Taking on Loans, Hoboken Business Owners Urge Local Shopping
Many businesses are still closed in town, while business owners struggle to open their doors for holiday shopping.
Power has been switched on and some normalcy has returned since Sandy hit, but many business owners in Hoboken are still struggling.
While some businesses are simply closing or moving, others are fighting hard to stay in Hoboken. And the only way to do that, said restaurant owner Eugene Flinn, is to spend money at home.
Flinn, as well as about 150 other business owners, attended a meeting hosted by the city, FEMA and the Small Business Adminitration on Wednesday night at Hoboken High School. FEMA and SBA were there and are offering loans for businesses to get back on their feet.
But borrowing more money is a daunting proposition for many business owners.
"It's adding insult to injury by borrowing more money," said Anthony DeGennaro, the owner of River West Plumbing and Heating Supplies, located in uptown Hoboken.
"It was a struggle with the economy as it was," DeGennaro said. And that was before 4,5 feet of water engulfed his store, destroying computers, the floor and much more.
"We are not going to recoup just by borrowing more money," Flinn said.
About 27 food establishments in Hoboken were still closed as of Tuesday, said the city's Health Inspector Frank Sasso. Before opening, those places will have to be inspected again.
One of those places is Rogo's Bar & Grill at Seventh and Willow. Owner Ed Rogovich is still renovating the place after two feet of water ruined the floor and walls.
While unable to open just yet, Rogovich said he is determined to stay in Hoboken. On Wednesday night, he attended the meeting to see if he could apply for a loan.
"Bills are still coming in," Rogovich said. He said he applied to FEMA and was looking into an SBA loan. "I'm trying to get up and running as quickly as possible."
Rogovich, who didn't have flood insurance, said repairs could be as much $50,000. He added that he lost at least between $5,000 and $6,000 in product.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer also attended the meeting on Tuesday, vowing her support for local businesses and promising to help them get back on their feet.
"We want you to stay in Hoboken," she said, "for many, many years."
At least one business owner, however, is leaving. Anastasia Kamper has decided to close her business, which was located on Newark and Garden Streets. On Tuesday, she attended the meeting to find out if there was any funding from FEMA available.
Zimmer said the city will partner with the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce in the coming weeks to encourage Hobokenites to shop local and spend money at home.