Business has returned to something like normal at Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, N.J., the largest Airstream dealer in the nation, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated the state’s coastline.
”We had no flooding at all,” said John Lenzo, Colonial co-owner along with his brother, Jim. ”All we had was rain, and not a lot of that.
”The flood damage came from the surge that wiped out the Jersey Shore. We were open, but there was nothing working. Streets were blocked by fallen trees, there was no power, telephone or Internet and there was iffy cell phone service.”
Colonial, which sits on three acres 10 miles east of the Atlantic Coast, has 22 employees and keeps between 150 and 175 units in inventory, which include Class B motorhomes from Winnebago Industries Inc. and Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
Technically, the dealership, which has been the best-selling Airstream dealer for eight years running, didn’t close. However, power didn’t come back for four days — and then was down again a week later when a Nor’easter swept through the region.
”We basically were out of business for that week (following Sandy), but we were here trying to do damage control,” Lenzo said.
That included producing a four-minute YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3el2hyJCrKE) that also was posted on FaceBook and referenced from Twitter. RVBUSINESS.com also posted the video tour of Colonial’s property on Monday (Nov. 12). On YouTube through this morning (Nov. 14), the video had been viewed 1,395 times.
”It was very important to get the message out to the customers that everything was fine here, whether it was that they had something in here for service or whether it was somebody that bought something and was going to pick it up,” said Jim Lenzo.
The biggest problem as far as the dealership is concerned, was the effect the storm had on its customers.
”There’s no doubt about it,” Jim Lenzo said. ”We didn’t see people for a week. They were having larger problems to deal with. That whole week for everybody around here was just damage control.”