TRENTON – Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno met with employees and customers at Wawa, Camillo’s Restaurant and Pizza and the Sayreville Pharmacy in Sayreville on Wednesday as part of her continuing tour highlighting the spirit and resilience of New Jersey’s towns and businesses in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“The impact of Superstorm Sandy on this portion of Sayreville was devastating,” said Guadagno. “Many homeowners in Sayreville are still working to repair and rebuild their homes. The reopening of these stores is another step toward regaining a sense of normalcy for affected families.”
A local favorite, Camillo’s Restaurant and Pizza offers traditional Italian-American dinners, pizza, pasta and hot and cold sandwiches. The restaurant sustained $400,000 in damage due to Sandy, forcing owners to remodel and make extensive repairs. Co-owner Kevin Kose cited Route 18 Lumber of East Brunswick, Anna Electric of New Brunswick, Durkat Contracting of Edison, Miller Mechanical Corporation of Sayreville and Mike Zollinger Masonry of Sayreville, as having been critical in helping the restaurant reopen.
“If it wasn’t for friends, family, and our customers and neighbors, I’m not sure we would’ve been able to reopen,” said Kose. “The help we received from the community, including help from construction people and material suppliers who helped us rebuild, has been extraordinary.”
The Wawa at 40 Washington Road suffered extensive damage with flood waters in the store reaching as high as four feet. The store reopened in April after making repairs and upgrading many features.
“New Jersey is our home market, and we have been committed to the recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy, which have most recently included the reopening of our Sayreville store” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. “We know our friends and neighbors here count on us and we are grateful for their patience during the renovations, and for the continued care and compassion the entire community has shown each other during this time.”
After losing power, Sayreville Pharmacy was able to continue filling customer prescriptions thanks to a generator, making the pharmacy one of the very few in the area able to reopen soon after the storm. It also filled emergency prescriptions for other pharmacies unable to reopen as quickly.
“People were glad we reopened so soon, and seeing their appreciation really made me feel wonderful,” said Paresh Patel, co-owner and head pharmacist of Sayreville Pharmacy. “I truly love this community and felt proud that, despite the storm, my customers and this community were able to rely on us to get them the medicine they needed.”
Several assistance programs are or will soon be available to help New Jersey businesses rebuild and recover from Superstorm Sandy:
- With a focus on the most impacted communities, the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program provides aid through grants and forgivable loans to New Jersey small businesses or non-profit organizations that sustained a minimum of $5,000 in physical damage. Eligible small businesses and non-profits may apply for grants and forgivable loans of up to $50,000 per impacted location. If an entity has multiple locations in New Jersey incorporated under a single federal tax identification or employer identification number, it may receive up to $250,000 per entity and it may use one application to seek funds for all incorporated, impacted locations. The EDA is currently accepting applications for this grant.
- The Main Street Disaster Relief Program will make available New Jersey Economic Development Authority guarantees of up to $500,000 for commercial lines of credit to businesses that need access to cash to improve their damaged property while awaiting insurance proceeds.
- UCEDC, a statewide economic development corporation, is offering working capital loans up to $25,000 at only 2% for five years to meet the needs of small businesses impacted by Sandy. Proceeds can be used to cover costs associated with physical or financial damage (business interruption, etc) due to the storm. No collateral is required and a decision will be made within two weeks of receiving a complete application.
- Offered by New Jersey Community Capital, REBUILD New Jersey is available to provide critical loans from $10,000 to $30,000 to help small businesses pay for building repairs, equipment and inventory purchases, rent or mortgage payments, salary expenses, and utility costs for which they may need assistance. The loans are for up to 24 months and are at a 3% interest rate, with up to three months interest-free.
- The nonprofit Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation provides market or below market interest rate business loans and technical assistance to small businesses located in or moving into the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey region.
Businesses are encouraged to call the state’s Business Action Center at 1-866-534-7789 for assistance and information on the many business advocacy services available through the state. Information is also available by visiting the state’s business portal at www.newjerseybusiness.gov.
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