Jersey Shore shop owners reopen for Memorial Day

(CBS News) SEA BRIGHT, N.J. - Seven months after an epic storm, the Jersey Shore is open for business.

In Seaside Heights Friday, Governor Chris Christie cut a symbolic 5-1/2-mile-long ribbon to open the beach season following the damage done by superstorm Sandy.

N.J. Gov. Christie reopens the Jersey shore
N.J. Governor Chris Christie and first lady Mary Pat Christie joined residents, business owners, and Mayor William Akers in Seaside Heights to cut the Jersey blue ribbon symbolizing the reopening of a shore town hit hard by Superstorm Sandy last October.

Obama to tour Jersey Shore with Gov. Christie
Prince Harry tours storm-damaged N.J. towns
Forecasters warn: Up to 6 major storms this season
More coverage: Superstorm Sandy

Stores and restaurants are reopening on the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day weekend.
Stores and restaurants are reopening on the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day weekend.

Christie says about 80 percent of the shore has been restored, but getting there has not been easy.

All 34 business were destroyed in the summer resort town of Sea Bright— including Brian George's menswear store.

But today, North Shore Menswear is one of a dozen that have reopened.

"When we first left Sea Bright, we put a sign up... where we were then and where we are today it's unbelievable. I was a little concerned. So it was a gamble. But every week it got better and better," said Brian George.

Better for many of the businesses along Ocean Avenue means re-opening this Memorial Day weekend.

They have a chance to earn 60 percent of their yearly profits this summer.

The Sea Bright town sign.
The Sea Bright town sign.

Next door to Brian George's store, Scott Kelly is in a mad dash to get the Mad Hatter Bar partially re-opened.

"We've rebuilt this whole area. Don't forget there was six to seven feet of sand in this building as of October 29," said Kelly.

Kelly has been struggling with his insurance company since March 2012.

"The insurance money has to come through... I didn't realize seven months later we would be dealing with this," said Kelly.

Instead of just waiting, Kelly built a temporary restaurant bar on the back of his condemned building.

"We need income. We haven't paid our bills, our vendors in six months. At this point, if it's even half of what we had last year, it's more than we have now," said Kelly.

Despite all the work Kelly is putting in the restaurant bar, his building will have to be knocked down in September and rebuilt to hurricane specifications.

"It's for these 102 days. We've got to rebuild and go up 15 feet," said Kelly.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.