The Universal Food Store has been owned by Frank Quaratella's family since 1947. But after it was forced to close during Hurricane Irene, the personable shop in Pearl Street in Groton, Conn., was shut for good.
Times were already tough for Quaratella, as they are for millions of small business owners. He was five years behind on his rent. And after the store lost a week's income because of Irene, the landlord decided that that enough was enough.
"That big wheel is still turning," said Lou Conto, the store's manager. "You're still paying all your bills, but there's nowhere to grab from," he said.