A Pet Food Store Fights to Survive Sandy

Hurricane Sandy destroyed small businesses across New York and New Jersey. In a corner of Staten Island, this one’s still fighting to survive
Robert Freed surveys the damage inside his Pet Foods Plus store on Nov. 18 Photograph by Irina Rozovsky for Bloomberg Businessweek

When Robert Freed walked into Pet Foods Plus, his flooded store on Midland Avenue in Staten Island, two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, he knew what he smelled immediately: the stench of rotten kibble and cat food, a few tons of it. During good times, that $250,000 worth of inventory was the equivalent of Freed’s bank. Now his windows had been broken, the walls had been pushed in by the storm surge, and his counters and the platform they rested on were gone, washed way up the avenue. His racks and shelves were knocked over, dog food was spread all over the floor, his cat toys and doggie chews soggy and covered in what looked like seaweed.

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