Tint Shops Rocked By Series of StormsNovember 8th, 2012 | Category: Featured Content
Tint shops in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area are trying to stay afloat after the recent hits by Hurricane Sandy and the passing of the nor’easter. Shop owners say they have lost substantial business as a result of the storms.
“We were slammed,” says Jeff Croteau, owner of Coastal Window Tinting in Toms River, N.J., near Seaside Heights, one of the hardest hit areas. “The shop was busy up until that weekend of the storm. We finished up that Saturday and figured we’d be back to work on Wednesday. We didn’t actually get back to work until Friday. Phones were down for five days so that’s five days of calls I missed. We had a pretty good week scheduled until this second storm, then we had the nor’easter and everything’s a mess. All of my appointments are now rescheduled again. It’s kind of looking like November is going to be rough for us. We’re trying. We’re just hoping that this is the last of it.”
“We haven’t tinted a car in a week and a half,” states Thomas Kovach, owner of Art of Tint in New York, N.Y. “Here in Manhattan it’s very slow for cars but we have been doing some residential work on windows that have been broken as a result of the storm. The shop stayed closed until the electric came back on Saturday.”
“No one’s getting their cars tinted because they aren’t drivable; they’re flooded,” adds Jerry Hastaba, owner of Sound, Sight and Security of Staten Island. “We missed two weeks of business; the electric was out until yesterday.”
Some area shops Window Film magazine attempted to contact are still closed, noting on their answering machine messages that they would remain closed until power returns.
Despite the lack of business, shop owners say they are fortunate to not have sustained any severe storm damage to their shops.
“The whole town around here is wrecked,” says Croteau. “Shops just a few blocks from us were three feet under water. Everyone’s lost a lot. I was fortunate to only have one foot of water in the shop.”
“The water came within a half a block of our shop on 10th and 25th street,” says Kovach. “There was no water damage, we just lost power. My home was evacuated. We were in a mandatory evacuation zone so we went upstate for a few days until we could come back. What really hurt New York was the water from the high tide. My house didn’t get hurt by the water, but 90 percent of the buildings in Manhattan had flooded basements. Probably 40 percent of lower Manhattan is still out of power at this point.”
“It’s looking disastrous over here but we’re not doing too badly,” says Hastaba. “We just got the lights back on last week. This storm is very fresh; people are still trying to get their electric on. Staten Island was one of the worst hit areas.”
“I’m considering myself very lucky; I had a very good summer so I feel comfortable with the slow period,” says Kovach. “I do have some anti-graffiti jobs scheduled for the next couple of months to compensate for the decrease in cars. I do believe that the shops that only do cars are going to be very slow through November.”
As owner of a shop that provides a variety of automotive services in addition to tinting, Hastaba agrees that automotive shops will have a hard time bouncing back.
“Most cars are going to scrap right now,” he says. “We count on installing remote starts for cars in the winter. With all of these vehicles being scrapped and the shortage of gas, no one wants to start the car and leave it running while wasting gas.”
Croteau plans to employ word-of-mouth marketing to drum up extra business in the hopes of making up for lost business.
“Hopefully the snow will melt down and people will start getting out and about again,” says Croteau. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years; we go strong. We really push but I do think this is going to really affect us. I’m just counting on a lot of pounding the pavement and going back to our roots of shaking hands and going out there to get business back up.”