Seaside Business Owners Seek Aid To Rebuild

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Seaside Heights. September 16, 2013

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Fire-damaged buidings
Fire-damaged buidings on Seaside boardwalk

Small business owners are seeking assistance from the state of New Jersey to rebuild from last week’s fire on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

Business owners met with representatives of the Christie administration at the Seaside Heights Municipal Complex to find out what help is available.

Domenic Maruca leased a pizza shop in Seaside Heights that was destroyed by the fire. He’s hoping for state assistance to help him rebuild.

“Well nobody gave me a credit line after Superstorm Sandy. I had to go obtain my own financing which was difficult.  After this I had no clue, but I could use the help like a lot of other small business people.”

Angie Lombardi leased a mini arcade in Seaside Park, and all the contents were burned. She’s looking for grants to help her get back in business.

“Any funding, anything that will help just for us to rebuild and even the boardwalk. I mean my friends have lost a lot. They’ve come back from one, all of us, and we just want to come back.”

Mary Verderosa and her husband have owned a building in Seaside Park for more than 30 years that housed three businesses wiped out by the flames.

She’s seeking a grant to rebuild.

“It’s a grant that we’re keeping our fingers crossed that will be made available to us.
All my children have memories of this, and we just don’t want to end it like this. They want to be around to see it prosper too.”

Maureen Stankowitz is president of the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. She says the business owners are hoping to rebuild as quickly as they can.

“I think they’re going to work on it just the way they worked on Sandy. They’re going to start as soon as they find out what their insurance money is going to bring them. They’re going to get right back into it.”

Guy Lanza leased a restaurant that was destroyed by the fire. He’s not sure if the landlord will decide to rebuild so he can get back in business at that end of the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

 “We’ll all be back, but when? Two years? Three years? How many people are going to be unemployed? How many people are not going to have jobs? How many people are not going to have a Christmas this year? It was tough holding in through Sandy, This is even tougher.”


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