Superstorm Sandy claims downtown Riverhead business

Pieceful Quilting, Downtown Riverhead, Calverton
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Angie Veeck, outside Pieceful Quilting on McDermott Avenue, says she’s now moving to Calverton.

Superstorm Sandy and its storm surge that put half of downtown underwater has claimed at least one local business.

Pieceful Quilting, located at the southern corner of downtown”s McDermott Avenue, is in ruins, and owner Angie Veeck says she’s now moving to Calverton.

On Saturday, three employees saved all they could, laying materials across tables and countertops in the shop, which had become a bit of a practice drill; the store has been flooded before in previous storms.

But Ms. Veeck said this storm was unlike others.

In past storms, Ms. Veeck said flood waters would recede back to the Peconic River about as quickly as it would come in. This time flood waters, which reached two feet, stuck around the shop for 36 hours, causing black mold to grow throughout her rented space.

“We also didn’t lose electricity last time,” she said. “This time we lost electricity for five days.”

She had expected her flood and business insurance would cover her expenses, but a phone call Thursday morning with her insurance companies left her disappointed.

“You know what they gave me?” she asked a reporter. “Nothing — the big donut hole.”

During the storm, Ms. Veeck helplessly watched video footage of downtown Riverhead from her laptop in a Houston hotel room, where she had gone to attend the International Quilt Market.

“As they panned to show the rising waters, I said to myself, ‘Oh my god, that’s my shop,'” she said.

Unable to get a flight home quickly enough, due to the storm, her husband, Ken, and others, ripped the sopping wet carpets from the shop on Wednesday as Ms. Veeck called those companies she’d made orders from at the quilt market to ensure they pushed back all deliveries for at least a month.

She is still unsure when the move to Calverton will take place, but calls it the “silver lining” to the cruel cards Hurricane Sandy’ dealt the quilt shop, which has housed quilting businesses for 30 years now.

“I’m just putting one foot in front of the other at this point,” Ms. Veeck said. “I just keep telling myself to “Keep calm and carry on.”

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For more coverage on Hurricane Sandy’s effect on downtown businesses, pick up a copy of next week’s News-Review newspaper.