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Seaford bakery among businesses feeling storm aftermath

Kathy Fehn, owner of Fehn's Cake and Cookie

Kathy Fehn, owner of Fehn's Cake and Cookie Shop in Seaford, holds a pan of dough she will have to throw out, Wednesday. Fehn has not had electricity in the bakery since the storm on Saturday. (March 17, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

At Fehn's Cake and Cookie Shop in Seaford, shelves usually filled with fresh soda bread and rye bread for St. Patrick's Day were sparsely stocked Wednesday.

The bakery, at 3659 E. Merrick Rd., lost its main electric power feed during Saturday's storm, and industrial-sized dough mixers and freezers have been idle since.

Business owner Kathy Fehn, 49, of Levittown, said she had made repeated phone calls to the Long Island Power Authority about the outage and her lost business but only was told to keep waiting.

"It's insane," Fehn said. "They treated me like garbage. I keep making phone calls. They said they'll get back to me."

Fehn estimated she made more than a dozen calls. Only one LIPA employee said the utility company was "sorry" for not making repairs sooner, she said.

"I'm a food establishment," said Fehn, who took over the bakery from her parents six years ago. "It's St. Patrick's Day. It's a big day for me."

Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokeswoman for LIPA, said the company's priority in restoring power after a damaging storm was to first tackle jobs that will get the most customers back online. LIPA fielded more than 100,000 calls over the weekend, she said.

"We're going to jobs that will turn on 5,000 people," she said. "With 75 mph winds, it's very difficult to get people back as quickly as they would like."

Lack of power didn't mean Fehn was totally in the dark. The lights were on in the retail part of her bake shop, and customers popped in on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. But the moneymaking part of the bakery - where the dough is mixed for cakes, cookies, breads, danish and cupcakes - was silent for days.

Fehn said she sent bakers home because there wasn't any work. Eight of her nine refrigerators and freezer were not working, she said, and she feared losing eggs, milk and oven-ready dough.

Fehn estimated her holiday weekend business was down 50 percent and said she spent more than $500 on dry ice to save her supplies from going bad.

Fehn wasn't alone. Other businesses in the commercial strip near the intersection of Seaford Avenue have been without power since Saturday.

Next door to the bakery is Fun Stuff Toys, which had been without power since a tree toppled on power lines, causing a "blazing inferno," said Deana Hanson, store manager.

Store owner Michael Timko estimated that his business lost $20,000 in store sales because of a lack of electricity between Saturday and .

"You have to grin and bear it," Timko said.

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