Long Beach Island: Open For Business [AUDIO]
More than two months have passed since Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, destroying homes and businesses all over the shore.
Many communities have come together to work on the cleanup and recovery effort, which promises to be a long and arduous task. The 18-mile stretch known as Long Beach Island continues to rise from the rubble the October storm left behind as officials work to bring back residents and tourists. The good news? LBI is open.
That's the message members of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce is working to spread. In the days and weeks following the storm, many of the businesses went into cleanup mode quickly so they can get up and running again. According to Lori Pepenella, the Destination Marketing Director with the chamber, hundreds of stores and eateries are open for business and are trying to drive traffic back to the island.
Pepenella says, "We are a year round destination. It's not just the Summer months we're concerned about. There's lots to see and do on the island in the Winter, Spring and Fall too."
Hours after the storm, the chamber's website was updated with links and facts for rebuilding and recovery on the Surviving Sandy Newsletter, with info from consumer fraud tips, FEMA, SBA and NJ Business Action Center information.
Pepenella has attended several meetings to encourage an increase in tourism marketing budget to help state counteract the post storm publicity that the entire shore line has received.
"LBI is open, the mainland is open and this is our mantra everyday," stated Pepenella.
A series of ads have been placed locally and out of state, as well as long standing initiatives such as February Chocolate Week, April 21 Wedding Road Show and June Art and Film Festivals are already being promoted. Business events are also being scheduled on a regular basis.
The chamber has planned a dynamic breakfast meeting on January 8. The annual State of the Chamber at Sea Oaks Country Club featuring Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove, Rockport Analytics Researcher Ken McGill, Kelly Schulz, VP Public Relations of New Orleans CVB and Joel Naroff nationally accredited economist all to give their insight and suggestions on upcoming year.
The event begins at 8:30 and is $35. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce is located at 265 West Ninth Street and offers SBA and other crucial information for businesses to begin to rebuild.
Contact them at 609-494-7211 or visit their website.