Three weeks after Hurricane Sandy, several Atlantic and Cape May County shore towns are back in business and want everyone to know about it.
The perception that all shore towns are still a mess post-Sandy is a perception that many businesses are trying to offset.
“I have not been to the shore since the Hurricane struck,” said Shivani Sharma of Gloucester Township. “Things are still getting back together I think, right?”
The revitalized shore towns are running ads in several local newspapers through Thanksgiving weekend. They’re also doing radio, even advertising in French, to attract Canadian tourists who often visit Cape May County during the summer.
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“Nationally there has been a lot of press that indicates the whole Jersey Shore got destroyed and we haven’t,” said Cape May County freeholder Susan Sheppard. “I mean the picture of the roller coaster in the ocean is not Ocean City. It’s not Wildwood and it’s not Cape May.”
Tourism officials also say about 70 percent of businesses in Ocean City are back. Still, several shore businesses continue to cleanup. The famed B&B department store is up against the clock.
“We took on at least a foot of water in here,” said Brian Wright, the owner of B&B. “Everything was soaked.”
After losing all of its merchandise, they can’t afford to not reopen by Black Friday.
“You can see we don’t have any floors,” said Wright. “The walls are just starting to go up. We just got everything ripped out. We’re going to do everything we can. It’s Black Friday, you have to be open.”
The borough of Avalon, where about 90% of the businesses are back open, hopes to surpass last year’s crowds during their Black Friday event at the end of the week, complete with Christmas tree lighting, Santa and an ice skating rink.
“This event will bring more people down town than you would see in any day during the summer,” said Scott Wahl of Avalon. “Everybody’s in such a giving mood to help out our friends and neighbors in New Jersey.”
“People have asked what they could do to help,” said Jacquie Ewing, a store owner of Armadillo, Ltd. “What they can do is come down and shop. We’re not the roller coaster in the ocean. We were saved by the dunes.”
Several businesses are also holding post-Sandy sales. Hoy’s Five & Ten, a department store in Avalon, is offering 50 percent off on everything until the end of the year.
Since different areas at the shore sustained a different amount of damage, towns are also advertising at their own comfort level on Facebook and Twitter.
Atlantic City tourism officials are re-launching their “Do AC” campaign after a recent survey found that 41 percent of people thought the AC boardwalk was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. NBC10 was at the boardwalk last weekend along with thousands of others. We can happily report that it remains intact.