Just days after flooding from superstorm Sandy left her downtown Riverhead shop in ruins, Pieceful Quilting owner Angela Veeck had made up her mind.
She would head north, away from the Peconic River.
Specifically, Ms. Veeck looked to move her store to a then-empty 2,400-square-foot space in Calverton Commons on Sound Avenue.
“I am a very happy camper because every cloud has a silver lining,” Ms. Veeck said last week, when asked to describe her rebuilt life and livelihood a year after Sandy. “My new store is much nicer and, most important, it is dry.”
That’s a significant change from last November, when Ms. Veeck’s ordeal was featured on the front page of the Riverhead News-Review.
It was about 11 months ago that Pieceful Quilting, which had been located at the southern corner of downtown Riverhead’s McDermott Avenue for 30 years, was effectively destroyed when floodwaters from Sandy reached heights of two feet and hung around the shop for 36 hours, causing black mold to grow throughout the rented space. A few employees salvaged what they could from the store.
Pieceful Quilting wasn’t the only downtown shop affected by the storm. Ray Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District said his East Main Street store, Robert James Salon, was closed for a month after Sandy. And the Serpentine Museum, which was slated to debut this year at the site of the former Dinosaur Walk Museum, still hasn’t opened thanks to storm damage.
The museunm’s owners “had to put on a new roof,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
Ms. Veeck said last year that her flood and business insurance would not cover her damage-related expenses. Last week, she said her insurance company eventually did compensate her for about 60 percent of losses, but only for the store’s contents.
“Insurance companies are not in the business of giving out money,” she said. “They’re in the business of collecting money.”
Ms. Veeck said she was able to use some of the insurance money to purchase inventory for her new shop, which sells quilting supplies and material, but said her insurer didn’t cover the cost of moving Pieceful Quilting to Calverton.
“It was a very big expense to move into a new space and have to totally put together a new store,” she said.
“We were sad that [Pieceful Quilting] had to leave,” Mr. Pickersgill said. “Unfortunately, she didn’t have an alternative at the time, but I hope she’s doing well in her location. She contributed a lot to Main Street. Her store was very popular.”
It took Ms. Veeck just six weeks to get fully moved into the new storefront, which is located in the same plaza as Mema’s Pizza, just west of Bean & Bagel Cafe — a feat she attributes to her husband, Ken — “He’s a keeper,” she said — and her employees.
“I couldn’t have done it without my staff,” she said.
Ms. Veeck’s neighbor, Stella Johnson, also helped move contents salvaged from the Riverhead store to a trailer last November so they could be moved to the new shop.
And although it’s smaller than her old Riverhead shop, Ms. Veeck said her new Calverton location features a bright, open layout that gives the illusion of size. Business is good, she said, but she won’t know the full extent of Pieceful Quilting’s losses until sometime in November, when she can better tally year-to-year numbers.
“It will be two months before I know exactly what the implications were in terms of losses and customers,” she said. “It’s too early to tell, but I would say that we’re doing okay.”