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Few operational businesses in Freeport

Freeport's Nautical Mile is beloved by many for its restaurants and bars. But on Wednesday afternoon, the storm-ravaged area only had few working businesses -- and one was a high-tech firm that was scurrying to salvage equipment.

ANDI International, a company that manufactures hyperbaric chambers and has four buildings near the northern end of the Mile, had the only illuminated light in the district as the nor'easter began to pick up. Inside, owner Ed Betts fretted about the coming storm, which he feared could pile more problems on to his heavily damaged business.

The company lost more than $875,000 in equipment and suffered heavy flooding damage to all four of its buildings during superstorm Sandy. Betts and some of his employees were working to see what equipment could be salvaged Thursday before retreating at 4 p.m., when wind and snow whipped outside.

"If this storm comes in now, I have to clean this whole place out again?" Betts said, looking inside one of his buildings, which had been caked in an inch of mud by Sandy. "I'm just besieged by one thing after another."

The Nautical Mile suffered heavy damages in Sandy, including businesses such as The Schooner restaurant, which was deemed unsafe by an inspector, and Fiore Brothers fish market, which burned down.

Betts said he opened his business in 1988 and enjoys working in the "high volume, tourist attraction" area. He said he's struggling with insurance to see what losses he can recover and wants to rebuild.

But, while surveying his damaged equipment, sodden files and flood-damaged buildings, he said it's hard to imagine coming back -- especially if the nor'easter adds even more costs.

"I don't know how to recover," Betts said.

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