Business Interrupted

Good summer results make up for losses

    Potentially one of the busiest summer weekends was boarded up and shut down by the winds and flooding Irene brought to the East End on Sunday.    
    However, not every business suffered. Even those that closed as a precaution or because they lost power were able to say the summer has been a good one. 
    The manager of Waldbaum’s in East Hampton, Stu Pettit, said that the grocery store only lost power for a few hours, and, in general, “It was not as bad as everything had seemed” from the weather reports.
    “Monday was kind of slow,” he added, saying that business was picking up on Tuesday.
    Of course, the week before, business was booming as customers grabbed what they could before Irene came ashore. “It was a tremendous week,” business-wise, said Mr. Pettit, but added that it might have been just as busy, taking into account the time of year, if there had been no hurricane warning at all.
    He is, he said, expecting a slower-than-usual Labor Day weekend. “I think a lot of people went home to wait out the storm and they’re not planning on coming back this summer,” he said.
    Schiavoni’s Market on Main Street in Sag Harbor was dealt a freezing blow:  Without a generator, the grocery store lost upward of $20,000 in perishable goods over the weekend.
    Christine Zaykowski, the manager, said it was a “big downer,” but that insurance would most likely pay the company back for its commercial losses.
    Guild Hall, the arts center in East Hampton, was forced to cancel several high-profile events, including its star-studded 80th anniversary celebration on Saturday.
    “We were fortunate to be able to hold the Garden as Art tour on Friday and Saturday,” Ruth Appelhof, executive director of Guild Hall, said. “But, sadly, we had to cancel that evening’s sold-out performance celebrating our 80th birthday, along with Sunday’s events.”
    “While this is disappointing and hurts our box office, we are fortunate not to have sustained any building damage,” Ms. Appelhof said. There was good news as the season waned, however. “We have enjoyed a phenomenal summer,” she said.
    Pepperoni’s Pizza on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton was doing a bang-up business as early as Sunday night as the storm moved north, with lines out the door, thanks to a working generator and a full staff.
    One Wainscott vendor, who preferred to remain anonymous, was actually over-prepared. He bought enough ice — 1,600 pounds — to save his perishables and had a 45-foot refrigerated truck on though he did lose many customers over what would normally have been one of his busiest weekends.
    “Sucks all around,” he said, echoing the thoughts of many Long Islanders.
    Theo Foscolo, a manager at Rowdy Hall, the East Hampton bistro, had a different take. “We had to close early Saturday, and we had no power on Sunday. But Monday was incredibly busy, since we were one of the few restaurants to have our power on. We did really well.”
    “We did lose a day, but I think we made up for it with the rush on Monday,” he said.
    By Saturday afternoon, South Emerson Avenue, the road nearest the ocean where large motels such as the Royal Atlantic and Ocean Beach  are located, was like a ghost town. The usual crowd of pedestrians and vehicles was gone. Most motel room windows along the stretch were boarded up against the heavy winds that Hurricane Irene was expected to bring. It was obvious that even though evacuation wasn’t mandatory, many guests had chosen to leave.
    Laraine Creegan, the executive director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, reported the hamlet fared well during the storm. She noted that many people who vacation in Montauk but live UpIsland left to return to their homes. “They were hit worse than we were,” she said, adding that the chamber is still assessing the financial damage to its members. “Obviously, we lost the whole weekend,” she said.
    Montauk’s I.G.A. and 7-Eleven were open, however, for the duration. The I.G.A. opened at 7 a.m. Sunday and closed at 8:30 p.m., a little earlier than usual.
    People continued to call the chamber all week to see how Montauk made out and to check on motel room availability, Ms. Creegan said, adding that rooms are available. By Tuesday, she was able to say, “The town is really back in full swing.”
    Gurney’s, Montauk’s largest oceanfront resort, relied on generator power to stay open throughout the storm. Guests were not asked to evacuate, although many chose to do so. Those who stayed on were equipped with Glow Sticks when the power went off at 5 a.m. Sunday. It was restored by Monday.
    The restaurant at Gurney’s remained open throughout the storm, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was noted that some Montauk residents who had lost power went there for meals. The gym and spa were closed on Saturday and Sunday for safety, given their expanses of glass.
    According to Diane Hausman, an owner of the Sands Motel on South Emery Street, Montauk seemed a bit quiet before news of the storm, although she noted that the week before Labor Day is historically quiet as families head home to prepare for vacation’s end and the start of school before coming back to celebrate Labor Day, traditionally the last big weekend of summer.
    Of the 42 units in the two-story motel, only two rooms were occupied during the storm, she said. For those who chose to leave, the motel offered to reschedule their stays. Ms. Hausman said the motel is fully booked for the holiday weekend.
    Ken Walles, the owner of the Oceanside Resort Inn, which has 30 units, said it was about half full during the storm. Here, too, those who left were given future credit. “We don’t want to lose them as customers. This way they’ll be back in the fall,” the resort owner said. “It’s been a great season,” he said. He added that his motel is fully booked not only for the holiday but right through October.
    Mr. Walles expressed the consensus in the hamlet about Irene. “It could have been a lot worse, but we were lucky,” he said.