CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – “Tell everyone we have D batteries,” said an employee at DeCicco Family Market as a reporter approached, knowing batteries are scarce in the post-Hurricane Sandy world. “That should be your headline right there.”
Since DeCicco’s opened its store in Orchard Square in Cross River last year, it’s already experienced three major storm-related power outages, including the one it is currently enduring thanks to Sandy.
Courtesy of a back-up generator, the store has remained open and is able to provide shoppers with essentials they need to withstand the blackout wrought by the storm.
Ainsley Brown, the store manager, was stocking those batteries (several sizes, not just “D”) Tuesday afternoon and said he hoped to keep the store open to a least 6 p.m.
“We have plenty of bottled water right now, and we expect to have water and even more batteries tomorrow,” he said.
Brown said he’s been in the grocery business a long time and has established a strong, loyal relationship with the vendors, which comes in handy during a crisis like Hurricane Sandy. It’s the reason DeCicco’s is one of the few places that people can still find batteries for their flashlights.
The one thing DeCicco’s does not have right now is perishable goods. There are no cold cuts, frozen foods, meat or fish, and Brown said he couldn’t predict when they might become available again.
Since the power outages began, Brown said business has been somewhat slow.
“It’s been like this all day – a slow trickle,” he said, motioning to the check-out stands where only two customers were waiting to pay for a few groceries.
Those customers were paying with cash as the store’s credit and debit card machines went down earlier in the day.
“But they could come back on at any time,” Brown said.