Hurricane Sandy sets back but doesn’t halt Brooklyn, N.Y. mobile distributor’s expansion plans

Hurricane Sandy delivered a setback to one mobile distributor’s expansion plans in Brooklyn, N.Y. when it hit in late October, but Sal Corona is already on the road to recovery. Corona, a 6-year Mac Tools mobile distributor veteran, launched a second truck on Coney Island two months before the hurricane hit and completely destroyed the truck.

Corona has already replaced the truck he lost and recently resumed his second route. His brother, Armando, is the driver.

“The engine was completely submerged in water,” Corona noted.

Fortunately, his main truck was parked in Queens and was not affected by the hurricane, nor was his home in Brooklyn.

The day after the hurricane struck, Corona visited the truck on Coney Island and called his insurance company. He also contacted the company that insures the Mac Tools inventory since all the tools below the truck’s second shelf were submerged and needed to be replaced. These included scan tools, socket sets, drill sets, impact gun sets, ratchets, and other items.

Corona had invested close to $20,000 in the second truck. He said the insurance company will cover the $12,000 book value. “I’m going to have to swallow the rest,” he said. The insurance claims adjuster was able to get to the truck in about a week after the hurricane struck.

In the meantime, he invested $23,000 to buy a new truck for his second route.

In the days following the hurricane, Corona visited customers in his car. He found that about half of the 400 customers on his main route were affected by the hurricane. Some had as much as four feet of water in their shops. One customer lost his home. “I have to be patient and wait for him to get in business,” Corona said.

After two days, he was unable to continue visiting customers due to the lack of available gasoline. It was more than a week later before he was able to get gasoline and begin servicing his main route.

Despite the setback, the brothers still have hopes for expanding the second route beyond its current 150 customers. “We haven’t lost any customers,” Corona said for the second route.