Small businesses in New Jersey are concerned about the recovery process after a fire devastated a popular pier in September. Businesses in the area are greatly worrisome about their future, especially considering the same area saw major damage in October 2012 after Hurricane Sandy ravaged its shores.
The fire destroyed about 50 ocean-front businesses in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, a major blow to the local economy still recovering from the hurricane. While businesses are hopeful to rebuild once again, many expressed concern over funding the recovery process. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a sizable relief fund shortly after the fire, but business owners such as Bob Stewart worry the funds will not arrive in time to pay the bills, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
“Governor, are you going to shake the tree and let the money loose? Is it going to be a year before we see money,” Stewart asked Christie shortly after he announced the relief fund. “Because in a year from now, I’m going to lose my house. I’m going to lose everything.”
Disaster strikes the pier
Hurricane Sandy struck the Jersey shore on Oct. 31, 2012, leaving behind tremendous damage to the neighborhood – both on the shore, and further inland. Crushing waves ripped away large sections of the pier and flooded homes, lifting some off their foundations. In the aftermath, one could see houses piled against each other, some reduced to rubble.
Businesses damaged on the boardwalk suffered a second major blow this year. On Thursday, Sept. 12, faulty electrical equipment sparked a fire beneath the pier. The boardwalk was quickly engulfed in flames, destroying seaside businesses along five blocks.
“I got physically ill thinking about the devastation,” Stewart remarked to Businessweek.
Making matters worse for small business owners is the backlog in processing the aid money through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The NJED is still processing claims from Sandy. As of mid-September, only a fraction have been approved, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Many of those lucky enough to receive approval from the NJED are still waiting for their checks. A couple who owns a pizzeria had their application approved in May, but months later have yet to receive the check.
Small businesses everywhere that are hampered by the slow process of government financing have other options. Getting a small business loan from an alternative lender is a simple and speedy process. National Funding has a variety of financing options that are helpful to small businesses who need it fast.