REMEMBERING MAYOR THOMAS MENINO: Complete Coverage

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Businesses Try To Get Back On Track After Irene

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV
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Diners eat at Papas Restaurant in Rehoboth.

Diners eat at Papas Restaurant in Rehoboth.

WBZ-TV's Beth Germano Beth Germano
Emmy award-winning Beth Germano is a general assignment reporter fo...
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REHOBOTH (CBS) – Richard Cook turned the key for the first time at his Rehoboth sandwich shop Autumn Cafe.

The power was finally back on after six days of having to close. “You know everyday you’re sitting home, you’re not making money,” he said.

No power and no water, because the town is on well water. And now days of lost business he’s just beginning to calculate in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene that’s left Rehoboth one of the last Massachusetts towns to be fully restored.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

“And then add on spoilage of food, lost catering jobs, and I lost thousands and thousands of dollars.” He can’t even get the empty freezer back up to temperature, worried a surge as the power returned may have damaged the unit.

Down the street at Papa’s Restaurant, Cheryl Lanagan works a frenzied pace in the kitchen. The power was finally restored at noontime on Friday, and she barely got her menu back up for the Friday night regulars.

“I don’t ever want to go through this again in my life,” she said. “I’m so exhausted, it’s a lot of adrenaline.” In the dumpster out back is days worth of food she had to throw away. “It’s well into the thousands. That’s just the lost product, forget the revenue,” she said.

And it’s not just the staggering loss of food, but the cost of replacing it to get back in business. Richard Cook scrambled to buy deli meats, lettuce and vegetables, but only enough for a smaller cooler since he can’t use the freezer yet to stock up. Yet to see a customer, and make the first salads brought some satisfaction.

“At least I know I can do business,” he said. Rehoboth businesses are trying to get the word out they’re back, and the owners are now trying to catch up. “The revenue will never be gained back, but hopefully we won’t lose any of our good customers,” said Lanagan.

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