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Steuben businesses reopen after months despite FEMA funding denial, recovery will take much longer

It has been nearly two months since historic flooding in the Southern Tier of New York, but businesses in the hardest hit communities are beginning to reopen.

The positive news comes the same week that FEMA denied disaster funding for those communities in Steuben County, which were devastated by flooding rains from Tropical Storm Fred.

Businesses were forced to get creative with ways to make money and remain solvent during the down time. Golden Age Cheese held a grand opening on Wednesday, but started a monthly subscription service to help raise money for itself and the community as it moved through the rebuilding process.

“We’re able to sell our products, and we’re seeing a great showing of customers, a lot of love from the community coming out to show support. And it just feels really good to be back in business,” Golden Age Cheese COO Matthew Blanchard said.

Meanwhile for Leslie Smith, owner at HP Smith & Son Insurance said the flood waters completely destroyed the basement and first floor. The company had to relocate. “The resiliency of this little community. And that’s what it all comes down to: neighbors, neighboring communities helping everybody. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters,” she said.

Local leaders reacted to news that FEMA was denying funding to Steuben County communities on Wednesday.