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Smithtown residents flock to hardware stores

Terry Gottlibe of Pound Ridge loads her car

Terry Gottlibe of Pound Ridge loads her car with sandbags from the Home Depot in Brewster while her daughters Katelynn, 9, and Bridget, 4, help. Gottlibe purchased the sand in preparation for the upcoming storm. (Oct. 27, 2012) Credit: Lisa Weir

Many residents of Smithtown hopped from gas station to hardware stores Thursday afternoon trying to buy anything -- flashlights, generators, fuel for cars and generators -- that they could use to get through massive power outages.

"There's a shortage of gas cans and batteries," said Commack Hardware store employee Erik Olsen. "We can't even go to the city to get anything" from suppliers.

The store, which has been in business since 1959, had no electricity and was only staying open through the late afternoon. Customers had to pay in cash only, because credit card machines were down.

But customers got crafty with the merchandise that was stocked.

"People are making their own extension cords," said the store's co-owner, John Burns. "Anything that will work."

John LiMandri, 73, of Smithtown, was happy to find a flashlight with batteries included, after going to several stores like The Home Depot and Target, he said.

"I'm looking for anything that will give me power," he said. LiMandri said his family barbecued in order to eat and that neighbors in his Smithtown Pines community shared generators.

Still, he lamented, "I'd love to take a shower."

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