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Through hurricanes and pandemics, Montague furniture store taking recent challenges in stride

Jeff Beck, manager of Beck's Home Furniture and Appliances, stands outside his store in Montague on March 23.
Jeff Beck, manager of Beck's Home Furniture and Appliances, stands outside his store in Montague on March 23. - Daniel Brown

 


Jeff Beck walked into his office a few days after a wild autumn storm.

"There was drops of water hitting my desk."

He was on the first floor of his family-owned business, Beck's Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. The water was dripping all the way down from the fourth floor.

It was September 2019 and the store's roof had just been torn off by post-tropical storm Dorian. While the storm hit P.E.I. at its hardest over that weekend, there was another heavy rainfall the following Wednesday, Beck said.

"That's actually what ruined everything in the store."

He got to work on gutting the building and its damaged inventory the day after Dorian.

"We had to slowly empty the store, which took about a month."

A painter puts some finishing touches on a wall inside Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contritubed
A painter puts some finishing touches on a wall inside Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contritubed

While it was a physically challenging process, it was also a stressful time for Beck. He wasn't sure whether the costs of the damage would be covered or if his store, which he's owned since 2001, would be able to re-open.

Thankfully, everything was covered by his insurance company, and Beck was able to keep on most of his dedicated employees. He also found a contractor during what was a busy year for construction, he said.

"We were really lucky to have them take the job," he said.

"The rebuild was quite extensive."

Some floors are being stocked with inventory at Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contributed
Some floors are being stocked with inventory at Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contributed

Over the following weeks, the building started to take shape again and they were on schedule to re-open this March.

"It was looking — up until last week — that the end of March was going to be achievable," he said.

"Then this happened."

By "this," Beck is referring to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The good news is that renovations are nearly complete and all his sales floors are being restocked with furniture and appliances. The bad new is that like many businesses, the store will remain closed as long as the chief public health officer recommends it.

"We're doing what we can in a difficult time for sure ... And trying to help anyone out as much as we can."

- Jeff Beck

So for now, he's forced to play it by ear. Needless to say, Beck's Home Furniture has had a bit of a rough go recently.

"We're doing what we can in a difficult time for sure," he said.

"And trying to help anyone out as much as we can."

The construction is nearing completion inside Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contributed
The construction is nearing completion inside Becks Home Furniture and Appliances in Montague. - Contributed

One way Beck's is helping right now is by making emergency appliance deliveries. Just last week, a woman called who needed to buy a new freezer because hers broke down, but she was self-isolating as many Islanders are to help reduce the pandemic's spread.

Beck's employees packed a new freezer onto their truck and delivered it to her house, ensuring that all hygiene and social distancing precautions were followed, Beck said.

While Beck wasn't planning on a hurricane or a pandemic to throw off his plans, he's certainly looking forward to getting back to business. He emphasized that if people are in need of his service, they should call the store rather than leave their homes to visit.


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