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Dozens of small business owners brought to the end of their ropes by Superstorm Sandy received a helping hand in Long Island City.

“You’re overwhelmed by losing your business and then you have to fill out paperwork on top of it,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica Restaurant. “One guy said it would be easier to go bankrupt, but it’s clear there are other ways to do things.”

Representatives from the Small Business Administration and FEMA doled out financial aid to some 22 hurting businesses on Tuesday, November 27 at the restaurant. The agents answered questions and helped owners eligible for both physical disaster and economic injury loans file for assistance.

“It was extraordinary, plain and simple. It gave me a lot of hope,” said Cerbone-Teoli, who suffered flooding in her restaurant’s basement and lost all perishables and food in the freezer. “They were very helpful.”

The Vernon Boulevard restaurant owner said the federal representatives were even able to calm down irate and panicked business owners.

“They brought it down to another level,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “They came out, they answered questions, and they went beyond their call of duty. It was just amazing what they did.”


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