Riding the Storm Out

Hurricane Sunday just another day at the office for many East Coast retailers

NEW YORK -- As stores and restaurants shuttered across the East Coast over the weekend in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, some of those always reliable institutions--gas stations, delis and grocery stores--opened on Sunday. Many even stayed open all night.

While Hurricane Irene had many hunkering down and closing up shop, for others in Elmhurst, Queens, it was business as usual on Sunday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

"This is not the first time we've stayed open during disaster," Moaad Alsaedi, an employee at the 24-hour Happiness Deli on the Lower East Side, told the newspaper. Alsaedi cited the citywide blackout in 2003 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as examples.

This time, people had time to prepare, he said, but "I think for them it made it worse," he said. "People were panicking."

The 24-hour delis and other stores that stayed open provided welcome oases for New Yorkers and tourists who wandered outside in search of food and something to do.

"There was never a consideration of closing," said Mhosin Hayat, who worked the overnight shift at the 7-Eleven convenience store in Long Island City.

In Nashua, N.H., it was business as usual for most grocery stores and gas stations--so long as the power stayed on, according to a report in the Nashua Telegraph.

“We are doing excellent,” said a clerk at the Hannaford’s supermarket on Derry Road in Hudson. “Plenty of water. Plenty of power. No problems at all.”

A cashier at the Shell gas station on Main Street in Nashua was committed to sticking to the store’s 24-hour schedule. “Unless we lose power, we’re not going to close,” he said.

The Gulf Express on Broad Street was open Sunday, as was the Dunkin’ Donuts that shares the same building. A cashier there said the store was dealing with the occasional power surge that was disabling gas pumps and cash registers temporarily, but the inconvenience wasn’t enough to close the store.

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