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Clint Engel

Hurricane Sandy leaves many furniture stores in dark

NEW YORK — A number of furniture retailers caught in the path of a devastating Hurricane Sandy are reporting store closings in New York and New Jersey, but initially no major damage.

Manchester, Conn.-based Bob's Discount Furniture managed to open about six of its 43 locations Monday but ended up closing them early, said CEO Ted English.

"So virtually no business yesterday," he said. "Today, I'd say about 75% of our chain will open - half on time and the other quarter some time later this afternoon."

About four Bob's store in New Jersey and another four in the New York City area are without power and will remain closed today, he said. In addition, Bob's has a few stores on Long Island, for which English was still waiting for an assessment this morning.

He said he hasn't received any reports of damage yet at the stores or its distribution centers. He was particularly concerned about the Taftville, Conn., distribution facility, which is near a river and susceptible to flood damage.

"At this stage of the game, we're trying to reach out to all of our associates and make sure they're OK," English said. "It looks like a lot are without power at the moment, but I haven't heard of anyone being in harm's way at this stage of the game."

The high-end Apropos Furniture in the New York Design Center on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan will be closed without power for a second day, said owner Jordan Greenberg, but he's not expecting to find any damage there, either.

That's not to say the situation surrounding him hasn't been devastating and scary. Greenberg said he has an aunt living in New York's Rockaway Beach who "was fearing for her life last night.

"Houses around her were burning. It was real end-of-the-world type stuff."

All 14 of Crest Furniture's Value City Furniture and Ashley Furniture HomeStores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are affected by the storm, but CEO Simon Kaplan doesn't know if any stores are damaged because he hasn't been able to get a hold of his people.

"We really got hit hard. I've never seen it like this," Kaplan said from his home, 10 miles west of Newark airport, where he was without power.

"I took a ride," he said, "and nobody has lights in any of the stores."

The key to getting back in business will be getting the lights back on and Kaplan said he can't guess how long that will take because "the whole area is down."

"We'll survive, and we'll get started again. As long as there's no physical damage to any of the showrooms, we'll be OK."

While Sandy's impact is widespread, retailers further south from the New York/New Jersey strike zone appeared to get away relatively unscathed.

Havertys Chairman and CEO Clarence Smith said all the retailer's stores in northern Virginia, Norfolk, Va., and Baltimore will be open today.

"We had no real damage," he said. "We were very lucky, but the rest of the region north of us looks like they are in for a tough time ahead."

Bograd's Fine Furniture of Riverdale, N.J., also is closed and without power, said co-owner Joe Bograd, though he's not expecting to find any physical damage.

Bograd's was set to close for good Nov. 3.

"It looks like our last week of selling is going to be a quiet one," he said.

Editor-in-Chief Ray Allegrezza contributed to this story.

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