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Downtown Business Owners Face Devastation and Loss After Sandy

Legal Beans and Anastasia's, two businesses on Newark and Garden Streets, were destroyed by flying debris and floodwater during Superstorm Sandy.

For the second time in a year and a half, Anastasia Kamper has seen her downtown accessories shop devastated by floodwaters after strong storms swept through Hoboken. 

And it’s getting to be too much.

Located in one of the most flood prone areas in town, Anastasia’s accessories was completely destroyed during superstorm Sandy. A bench from next door coffeeshop Legal Beans, flew into the store, shattering the front window and allowing the flood water to come rushing in, ruining all the inventory.

The store’s carpet was soaked in oil. Shattered glass and leaves covered the floor. The cash register was removed from its original place by wind and water and pushed to the back of the store.

“It was worse than I could have ever imagined,” said Kamper, who will probably have to close her shop.

Kamper and Beth Prellberg, with whom she runs the store, shoved destroyed inventory into garbage bags, often while holding back tears.

“I’m pretty sure we’re not going forward,” Kamper said. “This is our second time hit.”

Anastasia’s Accessories used to be located on uptown Washington Street, before Kamper moved the store down to Newark and Garden Streets four years ago. This would have been the business’ 24th Christmas in Hoboken. And it is heartbreaking to Kamper that there might not be a 25th year.

“I break down at night,” she said. “I’m so sick to my stomach.”

Next door, at Legal Beans, the damage was heavy as well. The shop’s large glass windows broke during the storm, causing much of the coffeeshop’s furniture to float into the street.

Owner Chris Escudero, who owns two more locations in Jersey City, surveyed the damage at his shop on Saturday and shared his neighbors’ sentiments.

“This is the second time we have been totally inundated,” he said. “First Street is gone.” Escudero estimated about $100,000 in damage and lost business.

All the wood in the coffeeshop will be replaced, he said, and it will be a BBQ place. Escudero is determined to stay in Hoboken, by choice as well as necessity.

“I own this. Who’s going to buy it?” Escudero said. “I have no choice but to continue.”

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