By WIL FULTON
The rebuilding process in Sea Bright took a big step forward this week when Ocean Avenue mainstay Bains 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, Bains 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.
We didnt 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 shops 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 residents demands.
We have everything residents are going to need paint, lightbulbs, nuts and bolts, he said. If we dont 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 stores importance to the community.
I think it can be very important to the town, without doubt,” Abate said. “Thats one of the reasons weve 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 Bains 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 wasnt 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 Rooneys hot dog cart had previously reopened, and that several businesses, including Woodys Oceanside Grille, Harrys Lobster House and Sea Bright Pizza were on track to open relatively soon.
We dont quit around here, Bain said. Hopefully our open sign can be a beacon of hope: were back.