Assessing Damage, Post-Sandy
With the current estimate of at least 85 lives lost due to effects of “Superstorm”/Hurricane Sandy this week, as well as billions of dollars worth of damage and considerable disruptions in power, travel, and other services, MMR decided to check in throughout this week with our friends in MI retail and supply who were in the path of the destructive storm.
When we touched base with Sammy Ash on Tuesday, he noted that, “15 [Sam Ash] stores are closed and the office is shut down. I could complain, but I know a lot of people in worse shape.”
D’Addario’s John D’Addario III said, “Fortunately we are OK. While we lost two days’ worth of production, our three Long Island facilities are in good shape. It is the residential areas which are a mess here on Long Island, with over a million people without power.”
“As we are learning from the aftermath of this storm, nothing is for certain,” observed Connolly Music’s Jake Connolly on Thursday afternoon. “We had phones and Internet yesterday. It went down last night at 7:30pm and came back on at about 11:00am this morning. We are fully back up and running again – hopefully for good this time… but time will tell. Having employees in separate areas of the country which can keep the customer communications and orders flowing, telecommuting when possible, et cetera has been a real benefit.”
Tech 21 also weathered the (literal) storm pretty well. VP Dale Krevens told us on Thursday: “We were very, very lucky – we didn’t lose power or have any damage. We have a few important suppliers in some of the hard hit areas, but they’re all fine and it’s business as usual. That could have been disastrous for our production if that wasn’t the case. Of course, each of us are hit hard by the devastation all around us. I just keep shaking my head and feeling sick to my stomach when I see the photos and hear so many tragic stories.”
“Our NY offices have been closed since the storm due to lack of power,” said Carl Fischer’s Chris Scialfa on Thursday. “As soon as power is restored, we expect to re-open those offices for those employees who can safely make it in… During this time, our warehouse was only closed a short period and has been shipping orders for a good part of the week. Naturally there will be some delays in getting orders shipped, but under the circumstances, we feel very fortunate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our industry friends, as well as anyone who was affected by the storm. We hope any damage was minimal and that all of you are safe.”
On Wednesday we heard from AP International president, Andrew Papiccio, who said, “We are all OK, but the situation is still not good. Tomorrow will be four days [without] electricity [and no] business or stores operating. Basically the middle and southern part of the state is basically closed down… As much as this is an inconvenience, we have far less to worry about then those who have lost everything.”
Other NY/NJ area MI suppliers reported having to temporarily close offices this week due to power outages and transportation delays.
Retailers whom we were able to reach – though several remained closed and out of contact as of Thursday, suggesting that some were, indeed, negatively impacted by Sandy – had come out of the storm largely unscathed. Brooklyn’s Southside Guitars closed down on Monday and Tuesday (though ownership was at the store on Tuesday, just in case), but suffered no damage or power outage. “Everyone around here seems to be fine, honestly,” said sales and repairman Trevor Stokkers. “No flooding and just one broken branch on this street.” Subway travel remains an issue, though the city had begun providing free busses by the end of the week and shipments hadn’t been interrupted.
Further up the coast in the port town of New London, Conn., Caruso Music also suffered no significant damage, despite its location just a few hundred feet from the water. Owner Larry Caruso says there were no adverse affects at the shop, although blocks in the immediate area dealt (or are still dealing) with nearly 100 percent power outages. “We were very fortunate in terms of the storm affecting us,” he said. The company also runs a piano moving business, which he says was brought to a halt, and Caruso says his own home was flooded with three feet of seawater. “We did close the shop on Monday and Tuesday. Although we had power, you weren’t allowed to be on the road on Monday.”
Late Thursday afternoon, Guitar Center posted the following on their Facebook page: “For our East Coast friends affected by power outages as a result of Hurricane Sandy we are offering a place to charge your cell phones in all of our open East Coast stores. We have power strips available to charge your phones.”
At last count, five NY and NJ Guitar Center locations, including Manhattan and Paramus, are currently still closed.
All of us here at MMR extend our best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to all who work and live in areas hit hard by Sandy.