After a disaster, the immediate focus of government officials and ordinary citizens is saving lives and providing food and shelter to those who have lost everything. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, that’s what countless small businesspeople in New York City and New Jersey did—people like Rob and Matt Freed. With their business partner, Bernard Hilzenrath, the Freeds spent days in hard-hit areas, such as Midland Beach in Staten Island—the location of Pet Foods Plus, their flooded store—helping friends clear out flooded basements and first floors. Through it all, concern about their own livelihood was never far from mind.
Pictured, the contents of a Staten Island home await removal.