The morning after Hurricane Sandy, Copenhagen Bakery owners
Flemming and Stacy Hansen, like many Northport residents, found themselves at
home without power. With it dark at home, the parents of five, decided to head
to the bakery to check on the equipment.
The lights were out at the bakery as well, but the gas stove was working, so the pair decided to make a pot of oatmeal for their family’s breakfast when suddenly, there was light.
“We said, ‘What are we going to do?’ We were in our pajamas and we weren’t expecting the power to come back on,” Stacy said. The pair did what they do best, they began to bake…and bake, and bake. For seven days, the Hansens were without power in their own home and spent every day and night at the bakery for the next two weeks to help those who were without electricity
The first thing the couple did when the lights unexpectedly came on was brew coffee – a lot of it. So much that they could longer sell the 20-ounce cups because they knew they would run out if the lines of people, waiting for a hot drink all ordered the larger cup size.
Residents from all parts of the village gathered at the bakery in the days and weeks to come. Some came to warm up, others to see their neighbors and share survival stories and to get something to eat while most residents were living without refrigerators, ovens or microwaves.
“We were selling things off the tray we baked them on. The croissants were flying out the door,” Stacy said.
The bakery soon became a haven for those seeking a warm place to be to charge their electronics and get a bit to eat. Residents plugged in entire power strips to charge laptops, cell phones and other electronics in order to make it through the next week without power.
“Families would sit at a table with board games. Most people gathered here just to talk their neighbors,” Stacy said.
As the week wore on and no signs of power showed through, the bakery began to run low on supplies. However the delivery trucks couldn’t get to the bakery due to downed trees blocking the roadway and broke traffic lights. In order to keep the business open for residents, Stacy drove three hours each delivery day to pick up the items needed from the suppliers.
After seeing how integral having power was to the Northport community during Sandy, the Hansens are now asking their customers to help them win a small business grant that will allow them to purchase a generator and update the bakery’s equipment.
“In times of disaster this (a generator) is key to our survival. During Irene we lost a lot. However the duration of the lack of power of Sandy was unnerving. Making ends meet would have been disastrous for us without power. Going forward a generator is essential to our business,” Stacy said in her grant application for Mission Main Street Grants by chase Bank. A dozen winners will be chosen nationwide to receive a $250,000 grant.
In addition to the generator, Stacy said that she would replace the bakery’s ovens, get new display cases and help offset the cost of employee health insurance, which it provides to 33 employees.
The Hansens also regularly donate their time and goods to local organizations including the VA hospital, Northport Food Pantry, Island Harvest Food Rescue, Visiting Nurse Service, Hospice House-Family Service League, The Lions clubs and the Girl and Boy Scouts to name a few.
To help Copenhagen win, residents can log on to www.missionmainstreetgrants.com and vote for Copenhagen Bakery.