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Eateries seeing red after being in black Samantha Mendoza | Fri, Sep 09 2011 05:00 PM

Third Avenue restaurant owners were left scrambling after a multi-county power outage shut them down for business Sept. 8.

Sweet Life Deli owner Jenene Lacey was organizing a grand re-opening of her store when the power outage changed her plans.

“Five o’ clock came and the mayor was here and the power just never came back,” she said. “Our employees were handling everything as best they could and customers were giving us IOUs.”

Lacey said customers were grateful the store was open.

“I never thought about something like this happening,” she said. “I hope I can recover from this. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to bounce back.”

Lacey estimates about $1,600 was lost because of the power outage.

Jimmy’s by the Park restaurant owner Roseann Grier said she was a little shocked when the lights went out.

“Customers were calm and kept eating but we didn’t know whether to close or stay open,” she said. “But when we heard it was everywhere, that made it a little more scary.”

Grier said she tried to save as much food as she could and will prepare for the next time.
“Next time we will buy a lot of batteries ahead of time,” she said. “We’re still not sure how much we’ve lost. We had to open late the next day but customers were very understanding.”

She said it still doesn’t feel like a normal day at Jimmy’s.

“Everything stopped. We stayed till 12:30a.m. to make sure nothing happened to the store.”

Grier said police officers kept coming by flashing their lights to make sure everything was okay.

The store still isn’t sure how much money was lost, but Grier says it was a lot.

“We’re still kind of in a daze but hopefully it’ll be better and will all go away,” she said. “The last time we’d felt anything like this was Sept.11.”

Third Avenue Village Association president and Mangia Italiano on Third restaurant owner Adam Sparks said he was a little shocked when the power went out during the middle of the day.

“At first we thought the power would come back on soon, but once we realized it was going to be a while, we resorted to our gas ovens,” he said. “The atmosphere was getting uncomfortable.”

The first thing Sparks did was freeze the perishables and put the seafood in ice bins.
“In food we lost about $3,000 and during dinner we lost between $1,200 and $2,800,” he said. “It’s not the first time a power outage like this has happened but it was definitely the longest.”

Of the 26 restaurants on Third Avenue, Sparks said the setback will not hurt owners in the long run but it will hit them hard at first.

“These are extremely resilient strong business people on Third,” he said. “It will take a lot of effort to get things back to the way there were but we’ll get there.”

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