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Cape Breton businesses doing their best in wake of Dorian

Elena Hernandez-Young, owner of Elena’s Esthetics and Asian Market, says the lengthy power outage as a result of post-tropical storm Dorian that rolled through Cape Breton on Saturday evening could force her to throw out much of her inventory of imported meat and fish. Fernandez-Young and her husband sought to purchase or rent a generator but there were none available in the Sydney area.
Elena Hernandez-Young, owner of Elena’s Esthetics and Asian Market, says the lengthy power outage as a result of post-tropical storm Dorian that rolled through Cape Breton on Saturday evening could force her to throw out much of her inventory of imported meat and fish. Fernandez-Young and her husband sought to purchase or rent a generator but there were none available in the Sydney area. - Chris Shannon

Some businesses without generators must make tough decisions, one store in Petit de Grat with power opens as makeshift community centre

SYDNEY, N.S. —

Driving up and down Grand Lake Road on Monday, seeing more businesses open their doors as the lights came back on, small business owner Elena Hernandez-Young became increasingly anxious as the hours ticked by.

Four freezers full of ice cream and imported meat and fish from Asia sat quiet. The constant hum coming from the commercial appliances that would indicate everything is in proper working order was absent.

Elena’s Esthetics and Asian Market is in a small pocket of properties that have been without power since early Sunday morning as post-tropical storm Dorian’s winds peaked in Cape Breton.

Hernandez-Young can see the traffic lights at the nearby intersection at the Sydney Ports Access Road and Highway 125 function as they should.

It’s discouraging, to say the least.

Bangus, a milkfish popular in Southeast Asia, is a big seller to many of her customers.

“People from the Philippines who live and work and go to school here pretty much buy it here because it’s their favourite fish,” she said.

But it’s the ice cream that is her primary concern at the moment.

“In another few hours the ice cream won’t be good.”

Elena’s Esthetics and Asian Market has been without power for nearly 36 hours as of noontime on Monday. The small business located on Grand Lake Road in Sydney does not have a generator as a source of backup power.
Elena’s Esthetics and Asian Market has been without power for nearly 36 hours as of noontime on Monday. The small business located on Grand Lake Road in Sydney does not have a generator as a source of backup power.

The losses are insured, she said.

Normally closed on Monday, she was busy keeping an eye on her products in her shop. Another concern heading into the afternoon was deciding when she would begin cancelling appointments made by spa clients.

The esthetics shop operates in the back of the market.

“I’m supposed to be back to normal with my bookings (Tuesday). If there’s no power, there are three of us employed here, we won’t have any income (coming in), and clients, as well, it’s not convenient for them because they booked that day because they are free. That’s their availability to come in here.”

A short distance away, the Mayflower Mall had electricity restored at approximately 10:30 a.m. following a 32-hour outage.

After a check to make sure everything was in working order, mall general manager Greg Morrison gave the all-clear for shops and anchor tenants to reopen at 2 p.m. Monday.

He said a few of the businesses in the mall’s food court did lose inventory because of the power outage.

“Some lost inventory, others were able to get their food out of their restaurants and fridges into other areas where power was restored in the Sydney area,” Morrison said.

On the other side of the island, a small convenience store was making the best out of a bad situation.

Corner Bridge Store and Bakery in Petit de Grat has operated on backup power using a generator since Saturday. The convenience store also became a gathering place on Sunday for those looking for a warm meal and a place to keep occupied during the lengthy power outage as a result of post-tropical storm Dorian roaring ashore on Saturday.
Corner Bridge Store and Bakery in Petit de Grat has operated on backup power using a generator since Saturday. The convenience store also became a gathering place on Sunday for those looking for a warm meal and a place to keep occupied during the lengthy power outage as a result of post-tropical storm Dorian roaring ashore on Saturday.

The owner of the Corner Bridge Store and Bakery in Petit de Grat opened his business Sunday and Monday to those in the community who were in need of a hot meal and a place to occupy their time in the aftermath of the storm.

Residents were treated to card games, crossword and Sudoku puzzles.

“It’s not about the money. You probably lose money more than anything,” said owner Dale Sampson, who has powered his store using a diesel generator since Saturday.

“It’s more about keeping your community going and functioning as much as possible.”

With the exception of not being able to sell Atlantic Lottery tickets because the system is down and a non-functioning debit and credit card machine that was disrupted for a short time, Sampson said he's doing what he can to keep the store in working order.

“We’re having to run extension cords basically to keep everything going, like all the necessities, all the fridges, the freezers. Most of them are connected to the generator but there’s two that aren’t so we need to keep all those running.”

At the storm’s peak early Sunday there were more than 48,000 customers in Cape Breton without electricity due to downed power lines.

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