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Seaside Fire Causes Lingering Merchant Worries [AUDIO]

The Seaside Boardwalk Fire’s effect on the 2014 tourism season is worrying local merchants, who dread the possibility of two slow summers.

Seaside Heights Boardwalk Fire
Seaside Heights Boardwalk Fire (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

A recent report from the Asbury Park Press, finds Kohrs Frozen Custard, one of the locations where September’s fire was believed to have originated, failed an electrical inspection only months earlier.

It’s a scary thought for businesses, who now have to worry about the condition of their neighbor’s wiring, in addition to their own.

“Here, we’re up to speed, but we can’t speak for everybody else,” says the manager at Adrenaline Clothing on the boardwalk.

He says, because most of the structures are actually owned by a few people and then rented and subletted numerous time over, it’s easy to lose track of who owns what.

“The buildings are owned by about four different people who live somewhere else and they just collect rent. So they sublet it out a business owner who sublets it out and sublets it out, so you have eight people renting inside of one space,” he explained.

Sandy destroyed a portion of the North End of the Boardwalk and the Casino Pier, which the clothing store manager notes was one of the reasons for the slow summer. The fire damaging the South End and Funtown Pier will only make matters worse.

“The piers still aren’t done, no one knows what’s happening with Funtown Pier. Those were huge for business. Without those open, we don’t have the families and business that we normally have.”

He notes if tourists avoid Seaside for a second year in a row, not only will businesses not survive another slow season, but the vacationers will likely never return altogether.

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