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Sandy Impacts Shore Business Survey [AUDIO]

The Monmouth Ocean Development Council’s annual business survey serves as a yearly gauge of the shore’s commerce leader’s goals and obstacles, but this year Hurricane Sandy shifted the focus from what mattered throughout the year to what matters moving forward.

Damaged home in Seaside Park following Hurricane Sandy
Damaged home in Seaside Park following Hurricane Sandy (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

This year the MODC’s survey went out before Hurricane Sandy but many responses came in after the storm.

MODC Executive Director Benjamin Waldron says obviously the hurricane changed the attitudes of business owners in regards their company goals, so he says they feel it’s a good opportunity to take the pre-Sandy and post-Sandy responses and find a general attitude of the business population.

“As to how they feel about finishing up this current year in their business environment, but going into next year how it might impact them.”

Waldron explains the finding will be useful in the Governor’s rebuilding strategy, noting the Governor’s initiatives are looking at the entire state while the survey paints a more regional picture.

Not surprisingly, tourism and the hospitality industry has shown itself to be important to the shore economy.

“I guess in some regards it’s fortunate that the storm hit us in late fall, hopefully that gives the coastal community sufficient time to get back to some normalcy before their prime season kicks in.”

However, Waldron says coastal communities should consider ways to diversify their economies, including expanding the season of tourism so businesses can distribute their revenue a little more evenly throughout the course of the year. He adds the Monmouth and Ocean area has numerous burgeoning industries that don’t rely on tourism, and the results from survey can help to see which ones need to be focused on.

“Aside from technology, business and professional services, other types of retail services, they can be all helpful in sustaining the coastal economy without some direct correlation to the tourism industry.”

The results from the survey will be made available to state and municipal leaders, and this year Waldron notes it will be important for it to reach a Federal level.

“Because of the need for us to reach out on a federal level for other resources including financial resources, I think it’s going to be necessary and helpful for us to get it in the hands of our Congressional representatives as well.”

Waldron mentions that prior to the storm preliminary feedback from businesses was positive, but because of the storm’s impact will mean many issues still need to be addressed moving forward.

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