UPDATED! New York – The effects of Hurricane Sandy on East Coast consumer electronics businesses are a mixture of damage, curtailed operations and concern about the well-being of not only employees but customers too.
Several companies responded to TWICE inquiries about their businesses in the past 24 hours, while other information has been provided on their websites.
Gregg Richard, president of P.C. Richard & Son, the largest electronics/appliance retailer in the New York metropolitan area, emailed TWICE to report: “On Tuesday (Oct. 30) we had 45 stores no power/no communications, Wednesday 34 stores with no power/no communications, Thursday 21 stores with no power/no communication, today (Friday) 15 stores with no power/no communications.”
He noted that the chain’s Oceanside store in Long Island is “a total loss” with “3 feet of water in the entire building. Not sure what effect this will have as many, many homes in our trading area were totally destroyed or flooded. There is much rebuilding to be done and I believe our customers’ only concern now is their housing situation, power situation, and finding some place for warmth, food and comfort.”
Richard confirmed reports that “the gas situation is making it worse as people cannot find gas to drive and or power portable generators. It is real bad, and we are thankful that our P.C. Richard & Son family somehow made it through this safe. But, there are many, many tragedies, and we are doing our best to help our customers in any way we can.”
J&R, with stores on Park Row in lower Manhattan have been closed this week, according to its website. Here is the statement on the site: “As many of you know, we have been a cornerstone of Lower Manhattan for the past 40 years. Our Park Row stores sit Downtown between the East and Hudson Rivers in an area that has been heavily affected by the flooding. As a result, some of our operations have been negatively impacted. We’d just like to let you know that we are doing our best under trying conditions to return to service as normal.”
The Park Row stores are closed through Friday, Nov. 2. Web operations at JR.com are running, as are phone orders, and its warehouses in Queens are back online.
Electronics Expo, based in New Jersey, had a message on its website today that its phone lines are down and to email for sales or customer service. Calls could not go through to its four locations.
Adorama began providing Manhattan customers and neighbors with free charging stations. The retailer, located at West 18th Street in Manhattan, got a “truck-sized generator, which gave us the juice to move forward” on Thursday, Ahron Schachter, one of the retailer’s top merchants, told TWICE. As of Friday afternoon power on Manhattan Island under 39th Street to the Battery was unavailable due to fires at Con Edison facilities.
On the retailer’s website Thursday, Adorama said it is “happy to announce that we have reopened and want to do whatever we can to help ease your recovery. Many New Yorkers are blacked out, so today and tomorrow on 18th between Fifth and Sixth, we have set up high-powered charging stations for free usage. We invite you to come down with your phones and electronics and charge all your devices at our stations for free. This is a free public service for all of New York.”
LG Electronics said in a statement to TWICE, “First and foremost our thoughts and prayers go out to those dealing with the impact of Sandy. Despite the fact that LG’s U.S. headquarters office remains without power as of Friday, it’s really business as usual for LG. Our teams are all working remotely and, thankfully, our systems and processes were not affected. One of our warehouses was affected, but it’s getting power back, and other distribution centers are able to handle dealer orders. We’ll continue to assess the situation in the weeks ahead, but we don’t foresee any major business interruptions for LG as a result of the storm.”
Jim Minarik, chairman/CEO of DEI Holdings, told TWICE, “Our Polk Audio and Definitive Technology Divisions are based in Baltimore and got hit pretty hard with the wind and rain, and a number of our people are still without power at their homes. But everyone is safe and sound, and we were able to open and resume business pretty quickly, albeit with a few bumps along the way. We are still assessing the impact on our customers, but I do not have any specific feedback at this time. But obviously anyone based in the hardest hit areas or those with stores in those same areas are going to need all of our support.”
Bob Cole, president/founder of World Wide Stereo, Hatfield, Pa., told TWICE in an email that his stores were “without power for four days but we got our servers up, using generators. I operated at my desk using a Coleman fuel lantern. We were rolling service trucks on Monday, and our custom installation department was in full swing on Tuesday providing full service. Customers did visit our one store to just hang out. We were able to give our customers the kind of help only a specialist could give — rigging antennas, hooking up generators, etc. It was fun … sad, but noble fun. Shipping was manual and lighting was by flashlight for too long. I am exhausted but now have power at home.”
Canon reported that its Jamesburg, N.J., repair facility is closed and without power. “If you recently sent a product to the Jamesburg facility and wish to check on the repair status, please enter your Canon Repair Number and ZIP code into the designated fields at the following Canon USA website address: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer?pageKeyCode=checkRepairStatus.
Recovery operations are underway and we have been informed by the local utility servicing the Jamesburg facility that power should be restored by Nov. 7. However, due to storm-related delays, normal operations and repair turnaround are not expected to resume until Nov. 16.” Any new repair requests are being referred to Canon Factory Service Center, 12022 Canon Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606 for mail-in service only.
At the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Jeff Joseph, communications and strategic relationships senior VP, said that CEA was fully operation on Thursday but “a fair percentage of our staff still has no power at home,” an issue for many up and down the East Coast.
TWICE operations at its East 28th Street office have also been affected by Hurricane Sandy due to no electrical power or web access.
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Please contact TWICE editor in chief Steve Smith at [email protected] with any information how the hurricane has affected your business or your operations. Watch for story updates.