The big chain stores that line Cross Bay Boulevard are slowly coming back, though at least one store shut down for good.
Every commerical space along the boulevard was hit by the storm surge and many chain stores have been closed for weeks.
Duane Reade announced that its store at 163-30 Cross Bay Blvd. — the former site of the Waterview Diner — has closed for good. A few blocks to the north, a big sign outside Rite Aid at 160-10 Cross Bay Blvd. advertises that the store is welcoming customers who had their prescriptions at Duane Reade.
Next door to Duane Reade, the Staples store at 163-50 Cross Bay Blvd. is still vacant. Workers cleaning the inside of the empty store on Friday said they did not know if Staples would reopen the location. The chain had recently announced it was closing some stores — though this one was not on the closure list. The company headquarters did not respond to a request for comment.
Petco’s store at 157-20 Cross Bay Blvd. is also still closed, though in a statement, John Drew, Petco’s vice president for regional operations for the Northeast, said the company will reopen the location.
“Our landlord is currently working on repairs to the building where our Howard Beach store is located,” the statement said. “When that’s complete, we’ll go in and begin setting up our store with an eye toward reopening sometime this spring. The Howard Beach community has been very supportive of Petco, both before and through Sandy’s aftermath; we’re looking forward to returning that support and getting back to serving pet parents in the area.”
TD Bank’s branch at 162-02 Cross Bay Blvd. is a brand new building, which opened earlier this year. The bank opened a temporary location in trailers in the parking lot a few weeks after the storm and as of Monday, was still seeing customers there.
Inside the branch, there is a sign of progress — new chairs, still wrapped in cellophane sit at sparkling new desks.
The site also flooded during Irene last year while the branch was under construction.
Other chain stores, including CVS Pharmacy, Starbucks and the Gap, have reopened for business. CVS’s store at the corner of 157th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard recently reopened after a massive renovation.
For large chains, the recovery from storms like Sandy is typically easier to bear than it is for small businesses with only one store, as the bigger retailers often steer customers to nearby, unaffected locations.