After $1.5 Million Hit, C-Town Won’t Be Selling Butterballs This Year

IMG_5742Alexa Mae Asperin
IMG_5732Alexa Mae Asperin

While small businesses on Avenue C struggle to become fully operational again, one of the neighborhood’s largest and oldest supermarkets remains completely shuttered during what would’ve been its busiest time of year.

The C-Town at 188 Avenue C, which has served the community for two decades, sustained “significant water damage” during Sandy, according to manager Elio Hernandez. He estimated the store had lost nearly $1.5 million, and said it wouldn’t reopen for another month.

About $100,000 worth of goods had to be thrown out after the 9,000-square-foot basement was submerged in 10 feet of water. On the main floor, which was flooded with two feet of water, new shelves will cost around $3,000, and $130,000 worth of refrigerators and cases will have to be replaced along with the flooring.

IMG_5745Alexa Mae Asperin The basement.

Mitch Klein, Vice President of Government Relations for C-Town’s supplier, Krasdale Foods, previously told the Local that shelves would be desanitized and reused, but Mr. Hernandez said they would be replaced entirely. “The saltwater is causing everything to rust, so it’s better to replace it rather than changing the wiring and cleaning it,” he explained. “It costs more to repair and clean rather than just buy new ones.”

Krasdale has been facilitating the recovery processes, said Mr. Hernandez, because the wholesaler sells about $2.5 million per year to the store.

Although the company usually sees its largest volume of sales during Thanksgiving week, Mr. Klein said a hasty cleanup was out of the question, since “extra precautions” were necessary to prevent health hazards like bacteria and mold. “The store was well prepared, but when the water came in, there was no stopping it,” he said. “Now we just have to make sure that when the store reopens, it’s safe for the public. We’re checking the integrity of the store.”

IMG_5748Alexa Mae Asperin

A dozen of the store’s approximately 30 employees are currently helping to clean up. While some had other jobs, most were sent to the state department of labor “to collect for a few weeks’ pay,” said Mr. Hernandez. The store manager said he hadn’t applied for help from FEMA, since the only aid they are offering is loan assistance. “It doesn’t make sense to take out a loan and be in even more debt,” he said.

With nearly 200 stores spread across the Northeast, C-Town is the fifth-largest food retailer in New York City.