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Brooklyn Shopping Center Continues Rebuild Months After Sandy Hit

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TWC News: Brooklyn Shopping Center Continues Rebuild Months After Sandy Hit
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A shopping center in Brooklyn is still trying to make its way back after Hurricane Sandy, but a big reopening of one of its main anchor tenants this weekend may help to speed up the recovery. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

A sign at the Caesar's Bay shopping center says "We're open", but things are still not back to normal after Hurricane Sandy.

There's plenty of construction materials in the parking lot, as retail chains like Toys R Us and Babies R Us continue to rebuild.

Pizza D'Amore, a local pizza shop, didn't suffer physical damage from the storm, but it did take a big hit financially with all the stores around it out.

"Thank god I have my delivery service. That's all I really have," said Frank Scollo, owner of Pizza D'Amore. "Other than that, I lost, no walk in traffic. People think we're still closed. People still call me now, 'Are you guys open yet?' I'm like, 'I've been open since the hurricane.'"

A local HSBC Bank has been boarded up since Hurricane Sandy hit. The only thing operating is the ATM.

Best Buy recovered quickly, as did Modell's. But those stores aren't on the water's edge.

Toys R Us and Babies R Us got hit the hardest. They're not expected to open until the summer. But this Sunday, anchor store Kohl's will reopen for business.

"We're fully opened, 100 percent and ready to go," said Kevin Miller, district manager of Kohl's Metro NY.

Kohl's also sits on the waterfront, and management said that Hurricane Sandy's surge came up through the floors and poured in through the front doors.

"Water and mud and ripped up floors, and quite a bit of damage to clothing, merchandise, registers, entryways, that sort of thing," Miller said.

The store said it had to bring in engineers by barge and in scuba gear to fix the foundation and the structure exposed to the water. Then, they re-did the inside of the store, and said they gave it a makeover, with upgraded fitting rooms and an expanded customer service area, all the while transporting their 200 employees to other stores.

"We also had four buses running 24 hours a day, all three shifts, to make sure each associate had the ability to work at other locations," Miller said.

Now, they're welcoming back the crowds with deals. Shopper Irina Lipenscia said she's been waiting.

"I've been getting already coupons for 20 percent off and 30 percent off, so I'm pretty excited," Lipenscia said.

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