Schlossbach said she pays her vendors each time she gets financial assistance.
Cubacan and Stella Marina in Asbury Park are wrapping up massive rebuilding projects. The storm surge flooded both restaurants, leaving about $100,000 in total damages.
The landlord's insurance company and personal savings have covered some costs, said Joe Cetrulo, who owns both restaurants. His insurance provider is lagging.
Cetrulo said his furniture and equipment should be covered, but the insurance company argues he has no flood insurance.
"We are fighting it," he said. "It's just a back-and-forth argument with them."
But waiting on insurance money could cost entrepreneurs their business, Cook said. "If you are unable to be in business and have a presence in the marketplace, there is always a risk that your regulars will be going elsewhere," Cook said.
Superstorm Sandy came at a fragile time for small businesses still recovering from the recession, Cook said.
"You're already weakened and now you are going to be suffering more," he said. "At the same time, you are now rebuilding and trying to recover on a reduced cash flow."
Schlossbach is struggling to make ends meet. She and her husband have a mortgage and newborn twins, with no salary from their most profitable business, Langosta Lounge. Schlossbach was denied unemployment because she is a corporate officer. Her husband was approved.
"The tragedy is that time is really of the essence for everyone, whether you are at a loss of your business or a loss of your home," she said. "The bills don't stop on certain things just because the rest of our world stops."
Schlossbach is raising money through the site gofundme.com to purchase new chairs for Langosta Lounge. So far, customers have donated a total of $10,000, she said.
Other Shore businesses owners also are using the website to raise funds, Schlossbach said. "I think everyone is getting really frustrated and nervous, so we decided to take matters in our own hands."
Reopened businesses also are in a tough spot. Owners say areas like the Point Pleasant business district and Asbury Park boardwalk are desolate.
"It's very, very slow," Cathy Pusczko, owner of Everybody's General Store in Point Pleasant, said. "It seems like everything is at a definite standstill."
Her gift shop didn't earn the thousands of dollars it usually makes during the holidays. Pusczko believes her customers are still recovering or don't know the business district is up and running.
Silver Ball Museum in Asbury Park has few customers trickling in. The arcade reopened in late December.
Owner Robert Ilvento said he depends on the patrons who go to dinner on the boardwalk and then bring their kids to play pinball. Most of the restaurants still are closed.
"On the weekends we can be very busy because we give that entertainment option," he said. "But a lot of people just think there is no way we are open."
Cetrulo estimates his restaurants have lost nearly $500,000 in revenue since November. Though the eateries are more profitable in the summer, winter crowds still dine on weekends. He plans to reopen Stella Marina today and Cubacan in two weeks.
Business owners say their only hope is a strong tourism season that offsets losses.
"I am pretty optimistic about this coming year," said Dennis Tafuri, general manager of Cubacan and Stella Marina. "People are going to come in droves to support the Shore... and to really support the rebuilding effort on the Jersey Shore and Asbury Park."
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