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Day 12 Brings Power Back to Lynbrook Business District

Atlantic Avenue stores finally can get back to business as usual Friday.

Most of the stores in Lynbrook's business district on Atlantic Avenue were on their 12th consecutive day without power Friday and were being kept in the dark by the Long Island Power Authority regarding when they would finally be restored. 

Shops like Lynbrook Runner's Stop and Mur-Lees had been opening up for a few hours every day but have had very few customers come into their dark stores.

Operating on a generator, Lynbrook Bagels has been open but without bagels.

Kanti Vadsola and his son, Neil, of have been driving from their home in Commack every day to dispense only "maintenance medication," a limit of five pills per customer, during the daylight hours to keep conditions like heart disease and diabetes under control.

And Vincent's Pizzeria , Lynbrook's 2012 Small Business of the Year, has been completely shut down.

Compared to the devastation that so many places across Long Island suffered when Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast, the merchants were all grateful that a lack of electricity was their only problem. However, with every day they were without power, these small businesses have continued to sustain financial losses.

"It's been a tremendous loss for me and all the other store owners, and employees are getting antsy looking for jobs," said Joseph Carusone, of Vincent's, but added, "I guess we still have a roof over our heads, so we're okay."

"The last 12 days probably cost me $75,000," Bruce Levitt, of Mur-Lees, which has been in Lynbrook 66 years, told Patch Friday afternoon. In addition to losing revenue and customers, he said,"I still have employees that need to be paid because they need to live ... I still have a mortage and taxes to pay, vendors to pay and all the other expenses of running a business."

"You still have to pay LIPA," added Ellen Copeman, owner of Lynbrook Runners Stop, who says the outages have cost her about $10,000.

She contacted LIPA initially and was told that they were still "assessing" the condition. Her follow-up calls went unanswered. Then, after contacting Mayor William Hendrick's office this week, his assistant said the village reached out to LIPA on behalf of its businesses and was told there was a "serious problem with a substation."

Copeman was not convinced that the substation excuse was true and so while on her morning run in North Lynbrook Friday, she spotted a LIPA crew and made a bold move.

"I was out running this morning and I literally ran into a car that had a supervisor in it," she said.

After explaining the problem to him, Copeman said the supervisor was able to track down a crew and sent them to her store after they finished working at a hospital. Two trucks did show up around noon Friday, but after surveying the wires on Atlantic Avenue, the underground transformer and the rear of the stores, they still weren't able to diagnose the problem and drove off an hour later.

The shop owners were ready to brace for more powerless days but just before 2 p.m. the lights came on. 

Carusone was wasting no time, already making preparations to have his pizzeria open up Friday night. (He also told Patch that he's planning to purchase a generator within the next two weeks to avoid being at LIPA's mercy in the future.)

Now, more than ever Copeman said it's important that residents support their small businesses, adding, "When we're up and running again, come shop."

And while she understands that local elected officials do not have as much power as they would like to have when it comes to dealing with LIPA, she would like to see them put in more face time with merchants during hard times like this. 

"We know you can't make LIPA fix our block, but come down," she said, her words directed to local leaders. "Just shake my hand and let me know you know we're out of business."

Anne November 09, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Glad to hear the businesses are up and running in Lynbrook again - please stop at one of these establishments that have been operating for years in our town Lynbrook!!!
Brian Rosen DDS November 09, 2012 at 09:20 PM
We need to shop local! Millers hardware is a great local business that really helps me out a ton! We need to support out local stores now more then ever!
Melissa Pinto November 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I go to Millers a lot for cards, and they have the window sticker decorations for every holiday I like to put up from Halloween to Easter.
Toni S. November 10, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Way to go Ellen!! Great job on getting the power back on for Atlantic Avenue!! Can't wait to dine & shop! Toni S.
Patti November 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Disappointing that elected officials in Lynbrook could not find the time to show support or compassion for the businesses trying to survive in their own town. Good for you, Ellen, for taking charge.
Rachel Guinsburg November 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Lynbrook is and always has been a wonderful place to shop. I agree with Anne that we must continue to patronize our local businesses so that they will always be there for us. Especially like the new restaurant, J. Maggs. Rachel Guinsburg

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