East Coast distributor weathers the wake of Superstorm Sandy

Just four days ago Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, claiming the lives of at least 92 people in the United States and leaving millions without power. As of this morning, more than 3.3 million customers across 15 states and D.C. are still without power, according to a report on CNN.com. Now those in damaged coastal cities are also facing gas and food shortages and the latest estimates have the damage from Sandy between $30 and $50 billion.

Despite the circumstances, life at Southampton, N.Y.-based REVCO Lighting and Electrical Supply is finally starting to get back to normal. The company remained open all week even though they were without power from Monday until Thursday.

“It’s been a wild and wacky week, for sure,” explained Allison Bourquin, REVCO’s marketing and public relations coordinator. “We could have closed, but that’s not in our nature. We had to be here for our customers and the people in our area. They need our products to get the community put back together, and we needed to be here for them.”

The company is thankful that none of its branches were damaged and that all employees are safe and sound. “A couple of our employees houses flooded and the owners of REVCO had flooding at their home, but everyone is safe,” Bourquin said. “We can complain about the situation, but what really matters is that everyone is okay.”

The company kept things running with just one generator, using it to power a couple of lights and one computer for processing orders. The REVCO team operated on a skeleton crew to service its customers.

Even before Sandy made landfall, REVCO felt the impact of the storm. Bourquin recalls that homeowners were calling around town, frantically trying to find generators before the storm hit.

“We had a few generators in stock that were left over from a previous storm and we sold out of those immediately, before the storm hit,” Bourquin said. “Then Wednesday we got a delivery of generator plugs, and they sold out immediately.”

REVCO is hoping for another shipment of generator plugs, but with a gas shortage now looming over Long Island, Bourquin isn’t sure when, or even if, that shipment will make its way to their facilities.

“Our trucks have gas now, but that will only last so long,” she said. “We’re being told that it could take anywhere from a day or two, to a week or two for gas deliveries to make it to the island.”

According to the Associated Press, gas has become a precious commodity in the East thanks to storm damage and many gas stations lacking the electricity needed to run their pumps. The AP reported that some drivers waited more than three hours in line for gas, with pumps running out of fuel just before their turns to fill up.

“There’s a bit of hysteria over the gas,” Bourquin said. “It’s a little scary and eerie…I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. There was all of this hype about the storm before it hit, and I think it exceeded those expectations.”

Still, Bourquin keeps her attitude positive and her thoughts in perspective. “It’s not ideal, but it’s building character,” she laughs. “It makes you realize how lucky you are and how little you really need to get by.”

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