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Sandy costs area businesses thousands; toll still climbing

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 31 2012 04:10:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Nov 01 2012 06:45:51 AM CDT

Hurricane Sandy's effects will be felt around the region for some time to come.

The storm has cost area businesses thousands of dollars, and hundreds of animals are in danger of dying.

The power was still out inside Diane's Pet Center in Exeter Twp., Berks Co., Wednesday afternoon. The tropical birds inside the store were literally hanging on by a feather, and hundreds of fish were gasping for air.

With no electricity, time was running out for some of the animals.

"The lizards can't take it this cold and the fish are already starting to die," said Diane Stetler, the owner of the pet store.

Diane's 130 fish tanks were already cloudy. The hamsters were not eating, and Hurricane Sandy has put Diane's livelihood on the line.

"I know people are going through a lot worse than I am, but it still hurts," said Stetler.

The pain was also being felt inside Weis Markets in Spring Township. Sandy knocked out the store's power for nearly 28 hours.

"Unfortunately, we lost most of our dairy department, most of our frozen department and a lot of our deli and meat departments," said Dave Lederach, the district manager for the Lehigh Valley, Reading and Philadelphia market area.

Workers piled the spoiled food into carts Wednesday. They took inventory of what they lost, and they had to throw basically everything refrigerated or frozen away.

"Once the internal temperature goes above 41 degrees for four hours we have to discard it," said Lederach.

Two dumpsters were needed to discard all the food. The district manager said the extent of the power outages from Sandy was the worst in company history.

"We had close to 20 stores that were down at one time," said Lederach.

Sandy was a storm that could have been much worse, but days later, Berks County was still seeing its effects.