By Fred Stabbert III
CALLICOON Sullivan County may have been spared the brunt of Hurricane Irene last weekend, but our neighbors to the south (in Wayne County, PA) and north (Delaware and Ulster counties) were certainly hit with the full force of nature’s fury.
Many business owners went above and beyond to help out their customers, including Rich Wulff and his staff at Delaware Valley Farm and Garden on Viaduct Rd. in Callicoon.
“We found 50 leftover generators in a warehouse in Massachusetts so I sent up a driver on Saturday night to pick them up,” Wulff explained.
The driver happened to be Wulff’s brother, Bill, who left Saturday and returned home Sunday morning as the worst of Hurricane Irene was about to hit.
“I was more worried than he was,” a relieved Rich Wulff said. “I didn’t sleep a bit.”
With dozens of phone calls flooding in for generators, Wulff said an organized Vanessa Sierens made sure that everyone that called and was promised a generator had one.
“We didn’t miss one delivery,” he said. “She did an amazing job.”
As Monday dawned, Wulff knew more generators were needed so he again sent Bill to Massachusetts for more generators. In all, Delaware Valley sold 84 generators made three trips to Massachusetts and only has one left.
“We stayed open until 9 p.m. Monday night to make sure everyone got their generator,” he said. “It was amazing. The generators were supposed to be here by 7:15 but Bill didn’t get back until 8:15 p.m. We had 47 people waiting and no one complained, no one clamored, the customers were terrific.
“In fact, they all said we should have had hot dogs and beer and we could have had a party,” Rich laughed.
Sierens, who is a little weary from all the long hours all week, said Delaware Valley Farm and Garden was getting calls all the way from New Jersey for generators.
On Sunday morning, without power, Delaware Valley opened by using their own generator to power the lights.
“My employees were great,” Wulff said.
In addition to generators, Wulff said over four dozen Coleman lanterns went out the door plus loads of flashlights, extension cords, water containers, D batteries and lamp oil.
“I could have really used more cords for generators,” he said. “I sold the couple I had.
“People are still coming in for everything,” he said. “Even if you were out of power for four or five days, we are so fortunate. There are people who lost everything.”