Big Bend businesses reopen after Hurricane Irma

Food Glorious Food
Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 03:57:44-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - As residents in the Big Bend are recovering from Irma, so are local businesses.

Several stores and restaurants say they were better prepared this year compared to Hurricane Hermine in 2016.

The doors are back open at Food Giant in Woodville. The good news with this weather event: the store was only out of business for about 24 hours.

"Then, we had to unload everything and get it back on the shelves, and yeah, it was pretty intense," store manager Janet Fruggiero said.

Tuesday morning, the store started restocking items that disappeared off shelves a few days earlier. Canned goods, non-perishables, ready to sell to customers but still waiting on others.

"We're waiting on the bread people," said Fruggiero. "So, maybe when he gets here, he'll leave enough that'll last more than 30 minutes."

The demand for business has been seen by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, saying some sectors of the local economy are bound to see change.

"A lot of visitors to our community -- and a lot of our businesses tried to service those individuals," said chamber president Sue Dick, "and we'll see in the assessment afterwards how everything came together."

Last year, WTXL reported from Food Glorious Food, which lost power for five days after Hurricane Hermine. This year, the manager says there was no damage to the restaurant -- just a few limbs out on the patio -- and they're fortunate that's all it was.

"We moved chairs around," general manager Matthew Rodin said. "We had sandbags out. We prepared for the worst, and we were actually pretty lucky this year."

The restaurant had some flooding and lost a lot of food last year, but the lessons learned from Hermine paid off when Irma came through.

"We're a local business, and even a small event like a hurricane can affect us pretty severely," Rodin said.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce says it has resources for members and non-members to help businesses get back on their feet.

Domi Station has teamed up with the Tallahassee-Leon County office of Economic Vitality to house businesses without power -- free of charge.