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Business Beat: Sandy Devastates Restaurants; P.F. Chang's on the Way

A look at business developments across central and northern Suffolk County.

Plenty of businesses across Suffolk are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy – especially restaurants – while others start to regain a sense of normalcy. Here are some of the latest business headlines across central and northern Suffolk County.

Eateries Across Suffolk Suffer Losses

Restaurants in Commack, Smithtown, and Three Village were among those that suffered losses including food spoilage, property damage, and loss of business due to Hurricane Sandy – with one owner putting those numbers in the area of $15,000 and others saying it might not even be possible to make up for those losses.

First Responders Thank Gasoline Heaven for Keeping Fuel Flowing

Tempers have flared across Long Island over gas shortages that kept customers waiting in hour-long lines to fill a tank to get to work or fill a 5-gallon container to keep a generator going over the past two weeks. But not in Commack. As business returns to normal, Commack first responders and residents are expressing their gratitude to a local business for keeping the fuel flowing. "If we didn't have cooperation from Rudy Massa and his family, knowing and ensuring our guys could get to the fire house, and our guys could get to the ambulance corp, I don't know what would have happened," said Pat Fazio, commissioner of the Commack Fire District.

Smithtown BZA Votes Down Sonic's Plans for Nesconset

Fast-food drive-in Sonic will not be one of several restaurants opening in near Smith Haven Mall. The Town of Smithtown's Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to deny Serota Smith LLC a special exception permit to build a Sonic restaurant on the southeast corner of Middle Country Road and Alexander Avenue in Nesconset, across from Smith Haven Mall. "Tonight, tonight is a good night for Nesconset," said Susan Fink, an Alexander Avenue resident.

Smithtown BZA Approves Variances for P.F. Chang's

P.F. Chang's will be looking to open its doors near Smith Haven Mall in the near future. Town of Smithtown's Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously to approve variances for the construction of a P.F. Chang's within Smith Haven Mall, next door to The Cheesecake Factory. Michael Colamusi, speaking on behalf of P.F. Chang's, said the Chinese bistro chain was withdrawing its controversial request for two variances to install the chain's trademark 11-foot-tall terracotta horses on either side of its doorway. The horses are mounted on 3-foot, 8-inch tall bases, standing nearly 15 feet tall over entering customers.

Peter Valenti opened Changes Salon roughly two years ago near Uncle Giuseppe's in the Village Center on Route 111, and in these two years he said the attention to providing the best products and services has garnered the salon much success. In addition to the products and services, the education Valenti provides to his staff on current products and trends and the personal attention his staff gives to the "guests" – never referred to as customers or clients – is what he feels are the greatest strengths of the salon.

Local Dad Turns Math into an App Development Business

For Jon Oransky, what started out as a way to help his young son practice his multiplication skills has turned into something much bigger. The Setauket dad is now a self-taught iOS developer who with the help of a friend has started a company, AwesomeApps.com, that focuses on math and music apps.

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