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Local Businesses, University Prep for Hurricane

If Hurricane Irene hits the Three Village area, local stores will be ready.

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook University Medical Center, and many local businesses have been busy preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Irene.

The financial impact of having to close due to the weather and potential power outage is not one that Constantinos Drepaniotis, co-owner of , wants to deal with. Drepaniotis purchased several generators for an estimated price of $600 each to power the diner in case the electrical service is disrupted.

"All my bills have to be paid, my employees have to be paid," Drepaniotis said. "If you have that generator, you're going to be the only one open. No matter what that generator costs, it's going to pay for itself."

If the power does go out, Drepaniotis said the first thing he'd do is turn on the neon "open" sign in the window. 

Businesses that don't own generators may be hard pressed to find one before the store. Home Depot and Loews are both sold out as of Thursday afternoon, but expect deliveries before the storm. 

Stony Brook University has already altered its schedule for welcoming its residential students. Move-in day has been changed from Sunday to Saturday. Many orientations and outdoor activities may be moved indoors. Updated information can be found here. A hospital administrator said Stony Brook University Medical Center will activate its Emergency Operations Center if needed, and has a surge capacity plan in place in case patients from other hospitals need to be transferred there.

"The Stony Brook University Police Office of Emergency Management is continuing to monitor the track of Hurricane Irene and will provide updates as they become available," said Clinton Weaver, senior director of public affairs and marketing for the hospital. "Stony Brook University Medical Center is taking measures to assure that the hospital has adequate medical supplies and staffing levels to provide the appropriate care to our patients."

has been especially busy with customers streaming in to purchase supplies. The flashlight section is nearly empty as resident look to restock batteries, oil, kerosene and other suddenly essential items.

Steve Carpelo, manager of Ace Hardware, would prefer a steady stream of business instead of the sudden storm-related boost. "It's a boost, but it kills the business for the next day [when the storm strikes]," he said.

Carpelo mentioned that the suppliers have been able to keep products in stock and extra deliveries have been made to keep the shelves full in anticipation of the storm. Generators, however, require a two- to three-day special order at the store and would not be ready before Hurricane Irene arrives.  

Some businesses, though, are at the mercy of the storm. Snap Fitness of East Setauket wrote via Twitter, "Worried about Irene. Not much we can do to prepare at the gym. We will remain open as long as we have electricity." 

There's not much that can be done at Setauket Floral, either, besides hope. Owner Joanne said the store can run without electricity, but if the power's out for more than two days, some of the flowers may be lost.

"It's not worth getting a generator for a once every 20 years storm," she said.

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