Businesses struggle to recover after collapse of New Jersey strip mall

RIVER EDGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Business owners in New Jersey are worried about the future of their companies, weeks after a collapse at their strip mall.

The businesses inside a strip of stores in River Edge still haven't reopened since the facade crashed down on July 3.

Several businesses say it's been a struggle getting answers from their landlord and if they can't resume business soon they don't know how they're going to make ends meet.

Tears well up in Sarah Morea's eyes with each passing day she's unable to open her beauty shop inside Kress Plaza. Her salon owned along with her husband Michael is so much more than a labor of love.

"This is our livelihood, this is all we have," Michael said. "Without this not only are we suffering as a business, potentially losing clients and having nothing for our future, it's killing us at home. We still have mortgage payments, car payments, insurance."

The Moreas and several other businesses were forced to temporarily close when the shopping plaza's facade suddenly came crashing down. Tenants say it's been a struggle getting in touch with anyone at Kress Associates and nailing down a timeline for construction repairs.

"It's hard because you do so much work to build this up and then overnight it's just taken away," said James Boujakli of River Edge Jewelers.

Boujakli just narrowly missed the collapse but says the window for his businesses' profits is slim if they cannot reopen doors soon.

"We lost a lot of business because this is engagement season, bridal season, and this is the time other than Christmas to really make your business so it's been rough," he said.

Meanwhile other stores along the same strip under different ownership are seeing more progress and are set to reopen within a week.

"It's a big hit on us but on that end it's like structurally even more," said Master Yun of JS Taekwondo Center.

"I sympathize with them, I wish I could help but I don't own that half," said Barry Wong, who owns part of Kress Plaza.

Eyewitness News reached out to Kress Associates but has not yet heard back. The Lions Club in River Edge is raising money for some of the businesses.

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