Many businesses closed their doors when the first signs of Hurricane Sandy were felt but a few served their communities until the last possible minute, El Diario La Prensa reported. The article below was translated from Spanish.
The majority of businesses shut their doors before and during Hurricane Sandy, but a few served their communities until the very end: bodega owners sold groceries, livery cab drivers provided transportation, and pharmacists provided medicine.
One of the bodegas that remained open on Monday until the storm forced it to close was Eastside on 184th Street and Morris Avenue in the Fordham section of the Bronx. The owner, Félix Acosta, had to stock up on twice the amount of essentials that he normally carries in order to satisfy customers’ demand.
“We had to place an order of water and milk on two occasions because we ran out, and bread was another item that sold quickly,” said Acosta, and added that the store sold 50% more than it usually does on regular days. “People stocked up on groceries early, and we decided to stay open until the hurricane started.”
Another bodega that kept its doors open until around 8:30 p.m. on Monday was Esmeralda, located at 2449 Grand Avenue in University Heights in the Bronx.
Ramón Valentín, a 73-year-old employee, said the bodega sold 25% more than on normal days, and bread and milk were the products that sold the fastest.
“Bread eases hunger,” he said jokingly. “The things that people buy most during hard times are bread and milk because they don’t require a stove to prepare, and a small amount can satisfy one person.”
Other highly sought after products at Esmeralda included candles, matches, and juice.
Rafael de la Cruz, a 55-year-old driver who works for High Class Limo & Car Service, stayed behind the steering wheel until the Bronx was deserted.
“A lot of people were calling the headquarters, but only for service within the Bronx. The roads to lower Manhattan and other boroughs were difficult to get through or closed,” he said. “I wasn’t working because I was earning more money than on a regular day; I had to be out on the streets providing service because public transportation was shut down and many people were stranded.”
Mo Showair, a pharmacist at the Fordham Pharmacy, said he decided to stay open the day of the hurricane because he had a lot of prescribed medication that was ready to be picked up and had been ordered in advance, mostly by senior citizens.
“We filled more than 150 orders for our clients, many of them elderly and sick, and we closed at 4 p.m.,” said Showair. “We were worried that people in the neighborhood wouldn’t have their medicine when they needed it most.”