GV| ONLY IN NEW JERSEY
WITH STEVE ADUBATO
Steve Adubato, PhD., is an Emmy Award–winning anchor for Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJTV (PBS) who regularly appears on the Today show, Fox 5 in
New York and WOR News Talk Radio 710. His newest book, You Are the Brand, examines the brand strategies of more than 30 individuals and companies.
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Jump Ship? No Way
With a can-do spirit that typifies the Shore,
this Seaside Heights businessman forges on.
JERSEY SHORE SEAWATER RUNS in
Wayne Cimorelli’s veins. He started his
working life in 1957 at age 15, earning 90
cents an hour as a barker on the Seaside
boardwalk. Today, he owns a block-long
beachfront building in Seaside Heights
where he operates his Coin Castle Arcade and Spicy Bar and Grill.
Cimorelli can’t imagine life without
the Shore—which helps explain his reaction to Hurricane Sandy.
The October 29, 2012, storm deposited six feet of water and five feet of
sand in his building. Damages totaled
$1.3 million. The electrical system had
to be replaced, as well as everything in
Seeing the devastation for the first
time, Cimorelli walked the length of the
boardwalk and just glared at the ocean.
He quickly decided that despite all the
difficulties he knew he would face, he
had to start rebuilding—and fast.
Cimorelli and his team toiled from 7
AM to 11 PM every day for five months
straight. Generators allowed them to
work into the wee hours. The goal: to
get the business up and running by St.
The task seemed impossible, but
Cimorelli and crew got it done. He
paid for all the repairs out of his own
pocket, while he awaited an insurance
check he knew would cover only part
of the damage. For example, his flood
insurance will not cover his restaurant
equipment—a problem he shared with
other restaurateurs. A few months ago
Cimorelli applied to FEMA for a loan to
help handle expenses not covered by insurance. He was still awaiting a decision
IN ADDITION TO THE PHYSICAL damage
and the financial strain, Sandy has taken
an emotional and psychological toll on
its victims. Yet Cimorelli refuses to feel
sorry for himself. “I felt sorry for all the
people who lost their homes in Ortley
Beach,” he says. “I felt sorry for the
residents in Seaside Heights that were
displaced. I was fortunate… I’m not go-
ing to say that we’re not affected by this
financially—we took a big hit—but we’re
alive, we’re healthy, we’ve rebuilt, we’re
open, we’re ready.”
You hear that a lot at the Shore. Peo-
ple know they have taken a big hit, but
they worry about those who were hit
Did he ever consider walking away?
“Nah, not even close,” Cimorelli says.
“And I think that most of the people that
do what I do for a living feel the same
way. It’s what we do—we don’t know
anything else. The amount of commitment, and passion and dedication—that’s
what it takes to succeed in this business.
I don’t think anyone ever thought of
Unfortunately, some have been
forced to abandon their stake in the
Shore. One year after Sandy hit, empty
storefronts, vacant lots and homes still
in ruins testify to the difficulties of rebuilding—no matter how Jersey Strong
we are. Mother Nature really knows
how to kick butt.
I keep wondering what it is about
the Shore and its people that makes the
place so special. The common thread,
beyond a much-touted toughness and
willingness to help others, is the can-do
attitude of so many Shore denizens.
Wayne Cimorelli embodies that spirit. It’s the special quality of residents
and business owners at the Shore, and
it is exactly what will be needed—along
with billions of federal dollars—for the
Shore to ever fully bounce back.
Send me your Jersey Strong story or
anecdote at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
BACK IN BUSINESS: Coin Castle Arcade on the
Seaside Heights boardwalk was buzzing with
activity this summer thanks to the dedication of
owner Wayne Cimorelli and his crew. Last fall, Hurricane Sandy badly battered the arcade, right.