On Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, N.J. Along her path, she caused billions in damages across a very broad area. The devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy are being felt by millions of citizens, and as the clean-up and restoration efforts continue, one group appears to be poised to fair better than others as a direct result of the fierce storm. Small businesses that were not taken out of commission by Hurricane Sandy can actually benefit from the disaster. Here is a look at how natural disasters can, in a way, be good for small businesses.

Increased Sales
In the days leading up to a hurricane, nor'easter or other major weather event, you can expect to see citizens heading to the local market and following the meteorologist's advice of stocking up on essentials. Small businesses such as corner stores and privately-owned supermarkets can profit from the storm and the media circus that often accompanies it. Citizens who want to prepare well ahead of the storm will purchase large amounts of food staples such as milk, eggs and bread to last them throughout the storm. More consumers purchasing in bulk can certainly help increase sales at privately-owned grocery stores. Stores that are able to stay open during, and immediately after, the storm can improve their bottom lines even further. It is especially true that smaller grocery stores can benefit if major supermarkets in the area close due to the weather emergency.

Increase in Traffic
Another way small businesses can benefit from a major storm is by offering hurricane preparation supplies. Businesses such as hardware stores and home renovation stores can increase their profits in a big way. Stores that offer hurricane preparation supplies such as plywood, nails and sand bags can expect to see a major jump in business as locals in areas that are predicted to get hit worst by the storm prepare for the worst.

While many major chains will close in a severe weather event such as a hurricane or a blizzard, small businesses have the option to remain open as long as they are not in a flood-prone area, and there is no evacuation order in place.

Increased Customer Base
As stores in your area begin running out of food and preparation supplies, some news outlets begin reporting on where citizens can find basic essentials. You could find yourself on the receiving end of some unexpected publicity if, by chance, you have a much sought after supply in stock. By staying well-stocked, you could provide emergency supplies to customers who have never even heard of your store, and you could increase profits and sales potential in the future.

Additionally, as the clean-up efforts begin after a storm, citizens will be desperate to find supplies, food, water and other basic essentials. If you can safely manage to stay open during a major hurricane event, it can definitely help your bottom line in the long run.

The Bottom Line
Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast of the United States, left millions without power, and caused billions of dollars in damages. Large metropolises like New York and Philadelphia came to a grinding halt in the wake of the hurricane. Many major retail stores closed down, leaving many citizens unsure of where to buy last-minute supplies. Small businesses remain staples of their communities regardless of the weather. When other stores close, many small businesses stay open, and they hope to be of assistance to their communities.

Photo Courtesy MDGovpics

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