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Business owner

Working for pizza

Meghan Michaux lives in Lavallette Beach, New Jersey, and since 2005 she has owned Meg’s Grill. She decided to ride out Hurricane Sandy in her beach house with her husband and two children, and while her home received no damage, her business was severely damaged. With the help of contractors and her employees, Meg’s Grill was one of the first businesses to reopen in Lavallette after Hurricane Sandy. Since then, Meg has continued to serve her community and is rooting for her fellow residents and business owners to come back to the shore as quickly as possible.

All that history just washed away

Mike Carbone is a resident of Toms River, New Jersey, and is the bar manager at the Beachcomber Bar and Grill in Seaside Heights. During Hurricane Sandy, his father kept the business open, until eventually the flooding forced the business to close and the remaining patrons evacuated. The business sustained tremendous damage from the flooding that accompanied the storm, but the Carbone’s managed to reopen the following January. In his narrative, Mike talks about his experiences during the storm, the damage it did to his business, and the challenges he has faced not only from the hurricane but also to the fire that later ravaged the Funtown Pier.

It really was like a movie, I swear

Aurora Silletti is a lifelong resident of the Jersey shore and owner of Ultimate Dance Studio in Toms River. Like many others, she and her family stayed in their home during the storm rather than evacuate. In its aftermath, they were displaced from their home for months and lived with family members while rebuilding. In this narrative, Aurora discusses her thoughts as the storm was taking place as well as the challenges they have faced in rebuilding.

We think, we can, we did

Angelina (Gigi) Liaguno-Dorr is the owner of Jakeabob’s Bay restaurant, located on the waterfront in Union Beach, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy completely destroyed the business, leveling three-quarters of the building and washing parts of the tiki bar, the deck, and even menus across more than eight city blocks. More than two years later, Gigi is still struggling to secure insurance and loan money to finance rebuilding. In the meantime, she is working with A Spoonful of Hope, a local soup kitchen, and is very active in the town’s recovery. Remarkably, Gigi has been able to stay strong through the process. She hopes to reopen this summer using a mobile kitchen, in time to capture some of the seasonal business.

One of the best things that's happened to me

Tyrone Green, born in London, England, has lived in Hoboken, New Jersey with his wife since 2002. Prior to Hurricane Sandy, he worked in finance for a bank in New York City. As a result of the hurricane and the devastation it inflicted on Hoboken, Tyrone became inspired to leave the financial world and go into business for himself. ‘Dark Side of the Moo,’ his food truck business that features wild game meat, now travels the streets of Hoboken and Jersey City looking for lunch customers. In Green’s narrative, he discusses his experiences during the storm, his change in careers, and the lingering effects the storm on his community.

Finally had a hot cooked meal

William Johnson lives in Ocean Port, New Jersey, and is owner of Scala’s Pizzeria in Long Branch. At the time of Hurricane Sandy, he was a Councilman in Ocean Port. Though his home and business were spared much of the destruction that others have faced, his neighbors and mother-in-law were not as fortunate. In his narrative, William speaks of his experiences during the storm as well as the process of recovery. He is pleased to see how people in the community have pulled together to get through the storm.

We put Humpty Dumpty back together again

William Gehlhaus is co-owner of the Keansburg Pier Amusement Park, a popular summer tourist destination on the Bayshore. The Park suffered severe damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Storm surge waters flooded the pier, destroying a building and severely damaging numerous rides, games, and even a prized crinkle cut French Fry machine. In his narrative, William talks about the devastation to his business, the challenges he faced in the following months, and how he has managed to rebuild this prized local treasure.

You got to keep going for the kids

Brian and Jennifer Garofalo live with their children in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy not only caused tremendous damage to their home, but it also destroyed their business, The Beach Bar, on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk. For the past two years, the Garofalos have struggled to put their lives back together. They abandoned their business in Seaside permanently after the Funtown Pier fire, and they are still in the process of rebuilding and lifting their home. In their narrative, the couple stresses the importance of family, perseverance, and maintaining hope.

Stand up, shake the dust off, get back to work

Michael Jurusz is a Jersey native and owner and head chef of the Atlantic Bar and Grill in Seaside Park. Chef Mike, as he is called, has in a number of places but says there’s nothing better than the “Jersey Attitude.” Though Hurricane Sandy spared his restaurant, Mike witnessed a tremendous amount of destruction in Seaside and nearby communities. In his narrative, he speaks to the losses in his community, as well as his efforts to help others in the recovery process.

Hoping it is that once-in-a-lifetime storm

Crystal Tenore lives in Ortley Beach, New Jersey, and since 2011 she has owned and operated Crystal’s Beach Salon. She married just two days before Hurricane Sandy, and many of her wedding photos were taken in notable locations in Seaside Heights. On returning from her honeymoon, she saw the tremendous devastation to her business caused by eight feet of flooding. In her narrative, Crystal talks about the challenges she has faced in rebuilding her business.