Ventnor Heights flood areas now dry, ready for summer visitors
Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters may have flung a walk-in refrigerator against her building, but Annette's Restaurant owner Cheryl Venezia had her place operating again in little time.
Now, more than six months later, she has started up her Annette's at Night dinner hours again for the summer, just as she has for the past few years.
"We've been very busy all winter because of the construction workers coming here," Venezia said. "And I think it's going to be a great summer. With all the businesses open now, the CVS and everything, it's nice to see Ventnor up and about again."
Most businesses on Ventnor Avenue saw little or no damage from Sandy, due to the street's relatively high elevation. But in the hard-hit Ventnor Heights section, where Annette's is located, it's been a difficult few months.
"I think it's been very quiet," Ship Shop owner Karen Santoro said of her bait and tackle shop. "Business has been way off in all of the (businesses) here. But people are still here. They're still hanging on."
She's noticed that out-of-area visitors seem surprised by the level of damage in Ventnor Heights.
"I think it's because none of them heard that much about our area," she said. "They didn't know what happened down here."
At the RainFlorist shop, owner Kim Ryon said she is "tickled pink" when people tell her it doesn't look as if her store was ever flooded.
"People are finally starting to get the balance of their insurance money, and now they can pay off all the work done," Ryon said. "A lot of people have their fingers crossed that it will be a good season. ... But there's a theory that if it's not, a lot of people will go out of business at the end of the season. It's make or break."