SEA BRIGHT: BAIN’S IS BACK IN THE PAINT

Frank Bain working the phone and the computer in the freshly restored paint section of his hardware store. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The rebuilding process in Sea Bright took a big step forward this week when Ocean Avenue mainstay Bain’s Hardware reopened its doors to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit.

“We opened at noon on 12/12/12 – why go to some concert when you could come down here, right?” owner Frank Bain told redbankgreen Thursday in his newly renovated shop.

Less than seven weeks ago, Bain’s store and every piece of inventory inside of it was destroyed. Now, the half of the store that is currently open looks as though it was never touched by the storm.

Lest anyone have any doubt… (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

“We didn’t want to open unless it was going to be first-class,” Bain said. “I hold myself and my store to a very high standard, and we wanted to live up to that.”

Bain went on to describe his shop’s reopening as one of the first steps in the long journey back to normalcy for the beachfront community, and reiterated his belief that the opening of a hardware store is an essential cog in the process of rehabilitation. He also reassured that even though only half his store is fully operational, he has the supplies to meet resident’s demands.

“We have everything residents are going to need – paint, lightbulbs, nuts and bolts,” he said. “If we don’t have it right in-store, we can get it.”

According to Bain, business has been steady so far, with many residents holding off on buying paint until his store reopened. He praised the help given by paint supplier Benjamin Moore. The company recycled the damaged inventory and replaced 1,000 gallons lost in the hurricane.

Co-op partner Ace Hardware liaison, Paul Abate, was on-hand to give his two cents about the small-town hardware store’s importance to the community.

“I think it can be very important to the town, without doubt,” Abate said. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve been working with them since days after the hurricane. We knew they needed to be fully operating as soon as possible.”

Residents seem to agree, as several passersby stopped in to Bain’s to congrtdulate him or thank him for his efforts.

“The overall response has been very positive,” Bain said.

Bain also reaffirmed his stance that the rush to open wasn’t a “competition,” and that he was happy multiple other businesses had opened already or are close to it. He noted that, as reported by redbankgreen, Ama Ristorante Tuscana and Frances Rooney’s hot dog cart had previously reopened, and that several businesses, including Woody’s Oceanside Grille, Harry’s Lobster House and Sea Bright Pizza were on track to open relatively soon.

“We don’t quit around here,” Bain said. “Hopefully our ‘open’ sign can be a beacon of hope: we’re back.”

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