On the morning of Sunday, April 7, hundreds of shoppers packed the parking lot at Ceasar’s Bay for the grand re-opening of Kohl’s, five months after the store was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Among those present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the parking lot in front of the store were Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmember Vincent Gentile.
“The one question I got more often than anything over the past several months from constituents was, is Kohl’s going to re-open? And when is it going to re-open?” said Gentile. “Today is not only a re-opening, it is a re-birth,” he added.
The store manager Brian Blanchard said, “After five months, we are very excited to re-open. We suffered significant damage to the first floor of the building and all repairs have been made for a safe environment for our customers.”
Along with a multitude of sales and discounts, Kohl’s offered a 20 percent off everything sale for customers opening a Kohl’s charge card that day. The staff greeted every customer with a salutation and a smile. Three-year Kohl’s employee Lashawna T. said, “It feels great to be back. We missed the customers as much as they missed us.”
With a lack of major retail stores in the area, local customers were thrilled to be back in Kohl’s. “I’m so happy that they’re open. I got a gift certificate for Christmas from my daughter and now I don’t have to go all the way to Staten Island to use it,” said Virginia Rice.
During the five months that Kohl’s was closed due to damages, repairs on the store were not the only thing happening. Blanchard said, “Immediately after the storm hit, we opened care and comfort centers for our associates.” He also noted that the corporation made a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross.
Blanchard then went on to explain how Kohl’s kept over 200 associates employed during the time that the store was closed by sending them on shuttle buses to work at different Kohl’s locations in the area, mostly in Long Island. Also, just before the store re-opened, the company hired 80 more associates.