After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Farias Surf and Sport Shop of Long Beach Island has been using means of relocation, renovation and volunteer work to save its business and support its community.
Farias has recently moved to the mainland while six other stores are being renovated on Long Beach Island.
The store’s new location is on Route 72 in Manahawkin, and manager Gary Grippaldi, 39, said they plan on making this location a permanent shop.
Although the mainland shop is thriving, renovating the other shops and replacing damaged merchandise is still a struggle.
According to Grippaldi, the Ship Bottom and Beach Haven shops had about four feet of water inside the buildings. He said the water damage destroyed their computers and 90 percent of their women’s clothing department.
During the renovations, Farias plans on improving the lighting and structure in the LBI shops.
“The costs of renovations and repairs are extreme,” Grippaldi said. “Insurance only covers so much.”
The employees of Farias continue to work for the company, despite being personally affected by Hurricane Sandy as well.
Employee Tom Streep, 21, almost lost his house completely to the storm. And despite the 45-minute commute, Streep said he won’t stop working for Farias.
“For over a month I’ve been back and forth from home to work, trying to get my life back together,” Streep told Patch.
With thousands also in need after the storm, Farias and Jetty work together to help Sandy victims.
Grippaldi said that both Farias and Jetty have donated clothes to LBI schools, while Jetty’s “Restore the Shore” line of clothing has raised more than $200,000 for Sandy victims, and the sales are still ongoing.
Immediately after Hurricane Sandy, workers at Farias and Jetty were contacted about devastation, where they volunteered to clean up.
Despite being so severely affected, the workers of Farias are confident in the progress being made.
Workers say that the company hopes to have all the shops open and running by Memorial Day.
“We’re all very optimistic for the summer,” said Grippaldi. “People love LBI as much as we do, and I think the support and loyalty will stay strong."