NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSoutheast Tallahassee

Actions

How rural business and homeowners could get help cleaning up after Tallahassee tornado

Posted at 5:45 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 17:45:42-04
  • Business owners in Leon County are struggling after seeing tornado damage and losing food during the power outage.
  • Leon County leaders are offering new assistance for people in unincorporated parts of the county.
  • Watch the video to hear how one business owner reacted to the news.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Debris is still common in our neighborhoods following Friday's severe weather, but businesses are reopening while cleaning up from the storm.

Businesses like Woodville's Bagigio's lost all of their refrigerated product and saw damage to their building but have their doors back open.

Wednesday was the first day Terry Hogan has her Italian restaurant Bagigio's officially back in business since the tornado Friday. With power out for over a day and damage to her freezer, she's lost a lot.
"I lost all of my product. Anybody that has a business lost product too."

Something she said has been extremely hard on her. "It's a scary thing when you own a business. How are you have to make payroll, how are you gonna have money to buy all the product again just so you can open up."

That's what Leon County Commissioner Christian Caban said he noticed as well. "There's a lot of property owners who lost everything or are on the verge of losing everything."

That's why he said he moved for one million dollars in grant funding from the county to help people like Hogan, as well as homeowners in unincorporated parts of the county. Leon County Commissioners voted to support the idea Tuesday night. "I believe it's really essential to our economy to protect businesses, protect property owners, and to protect people looking to invest in our communities in a time like this we do an active gesture to help them."

The program, Targeted Emergency Assistance Microgrants, or TEAM Leon for short, will be funded by a catastrophe fund that the county has set up for emergencies like this.

It's not the only assistance offered.

The Florida Department of Commerce is also offering the emergency bridge loan program. Florida Secretary of Commerce Alex Kelly says events like this are especially hard on small businesses. "This is literally a bridge loan that helps that company pay their bills, pay their employees, make sure they don't have to let any employees go."

Both programs are something Hogan said will keep her doors open. "All of my money is being put into buying the product that you need to get started so that will help a lot into getting this property fixed."

Leon County leaders say the applications for that assistance will open soon.

We will be sure to update you when we have a set date.