Businesses assess Sandy's impact


Images of Hurricane Sandy's aftermath in Atlantic City, with its battered buildings and flooded streets, leave the impression that the city was all but destroyed. But the slot machines and poker tables inside the city's fabled casinos might be up and running again as soon as this week.

Caesars Entertainment, which owns four properties near the boardwalk, is waiting for a go-ahead from gambling regulators to reopen its casinos on Friday. Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars, said that a few roofs needed to be fixed but that the damage from the storm was "relatively mild."

Two days after the hybrid superstorm tore through the Northeast, businesses from convenience stores to major banks were still making do, relying on generators for electricity and telling employees to continue working from home. For many, staying open has become a balancing act of preparation and improvisation.

During the height of Sandy, Mid-Atlantic convenience-store chain Wawa saw about 450 of its 602 stores shuttered — some because of power outages and some that the company closed preemptively. By Wednesday afternoon, only about 80 stores remained closed, mostly because of power outages and because workers couldn't reach some locations in New Jersey's barrier islands.

Wawa President Chris Gheysens said in an interview Wednesday that while the company has detailed plans to keep stores open through snowstorms and other harsh weather events, Sandy proved a unique challenge.

"What's new here is the breadth of this," Gheysens said of the storm's impact up and down the East Coast. "It's a bigger challenge than we've had to face in the past. This is a large-scale effort."

That effort meant putting some employees up in hotels so they wouldn't have to commute on dangerous roads and would be nearby when the time came to reopen. It meant keeping critical supply chains open for key products such as milk, eggs, bread and ice, and quickly restocking stores where power had gone out, leaving food to spoil. It meant making sure gas pumps kept running to provide fuel to residents and first responders.

It also meant keeping the lights on at stores in any way possible. Gheysens said Wednesday that the company had deployed a dozen generators to Wawa stores where power remained out. "We've cast a wide net looking for more generators," he said. "We're just struggling to find them."

Gheysens said the company will continue pushing to reopen and restock stores along the coast, in no small part because people in hard-hit communities have few places to go for essential items in the wake of the storm. "They clearly expect us to be there," he said.

Many airports in the Northeast were shut down earlier this week, with the storm causing more than 18,000 flights to be grounded. On Wednesday, flights resumed at two of New York's biggest airports, Newark Liberty and JFK International.

A FedEx plane was the first to land at Newark when the airport reopened Wednesday morning, said FedEx spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu. The company suspended service on Monday, but all of its planes were operating by Wednesday. Its ground operations were also back up, aside from deliveries and pickups in some areas still deemed unpassable by emergency officials.

"We're delivering where it's safe to do so," Leordeanu said.

Banks with offices in Lower Manhattan were still recovering Wednesday.

Citigroup said its New York office at 111 Wall St. "experienced severe flooding" and won't be usable for several weeks.

The global headquarters for American Express, also in Lower Manhattan, remained closed Wednesday for the third straight day. Spokeswoman Marina Norville said the company was taking its cues from the New York City government, which considers the area an unsafe flood zone.

Early estimates from research firm IHS Global Insight suggest that Sandy could cause economic losses of $30 billion to $50 billion.

As much as $20 billion could come from infrastructure damage from the massive storm, causing even more widespread flooding damages than last year's storm Irene, which also pummeled parts of the Eastern Seaboard, including New York.

The IHS report also noted that Sandy had forced the idling of about 70 percent of East Coast oil refineries, which could drive gasoline prices up in coming days. Some of the losses caused by Sandy likely will be offset by other facts, such as an increase in cleanup and reconstruction activity. But some of the losses — such as spending at restaurants that would have happened had there been no storm — never will be recovered, IHS said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected