BY LUIS GRONDA
A Rockaway bagel store put on its back by Superstorm Sandy is set to get back on its feet later this month.
Seaside Bagels, located at 95-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd., will open at the end of January after a long rebuilding process that required it to strip down and start over.
According to Scott Edwards, co-owner of the bagel and coffee shop, the store took on more than four feet of water inside the establishment and much of the cooking and prep equipment they use for its food had to be thrown out and replaced. As was the case with many homes and businesses, the walls of the store became engulfed in mold, so they had to tear them down and replace them as well.
Edwards said that they did not have flood insurance, only typical business insurance that covered some of the damage from Sandy. They applied for federal aid from FEMA, but he said that they have not yet received any assistance.
But to the rescue came Front Street, a Long Island-based facilities management company that specializes in rebuilding businesses like Seaside that have been affected by a natural disaster or are in need of a boost. They ponied up the bill to renovate and replace whatever equipment the store front needed.
“They came in right away and they had the dry wall people, electricians, plumbers, demolition people and it was just like one, two, three, done,” Edwards said. “We blinked and the place looks similar to what it was before the storm.”
They found out that Front Street was interested in helping a business in need after the storm through an email the store’s owners received. Edwards said that they replied back asking for assistance. This started a dialogue between the two companies, which eventually led to the management company helping out Seaside with their rebuilding.
Marc Lash, director of New Business Development at Front Street, said that they chose to help the bagel store because they saw the extensive damage it received and the popularity of the place. On his visits to the store, residents who thought that he was one of the owners would constantly ask him when it was going to be open once again.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Lash said, describing the work that his company has done at the store. “Since we came in, they’ve been so appreciative.”
He would not divulge how much exactly it cost to rebuild the store, only saying it was well over $500,000.
Edwards said that many of the needed repairs and renovations to the storefront are complete and they expect to reopen at the end of January. He added that they will have mostly the same menu when they are back in business, but there will be a small change to the way the store does things. He declined to say what that was, saying that regulars of the shop would know what he means.
“That’s what’s great about a disaster like this, people do step up and really help each other out,” He said. “We were just lucky enough to receive that help.”
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.