By Mike DeNardo
LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ (CBS) – It’s the start of Memorial Day weekend — a day marked on the calendar of Jersey Shore residents and business owners, ever since Hurricane Sandy struck seven months ago.
Months of cleanup and rebuilding have brought much of the Jersey shoreline almost back to normal, after Sandy. On Long Beach Island, reconstruction continues, but Lori Pepenella of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce says most businesses now have “We’re Open” signs outside.
“I would say for sure, a firm 95 percent. I mean, we still have some individual homes that do need to be addressed. But, the businesses are up and running.”
Lou Richards, owner of the Crust & Crumb in Beach Haven, just reopened his flooded bakery last week in time for Memorial Day.
“The only problem is, a lot of the houses aren’t finished yet,” Richards says. “But by the middle of the summer most of them should be up and running. And we’ll still get our day-trippers,” who will find LBI beaches open.
There are two signs on the door of the Song of the Sea gift shop in Beach Haven. One is “Come in, we’re open.” The other reads, “Stronger than Sandy.”
Owner Debbie Mozer remembers what four feet of sand and seawater did: “Everything was upside down. Like a giant came in and shook the building.”
But, after a winter spent rebuilding and restocking, her shop is back.
“It’s been five months of hard work. It’s our forced remodel. It’s new everything.”
Including, she hopes, new images of a repaired and ready LBI.