Black businesses take a hit from Irma

Recovery slow for some businesses, government offices.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The recovery from Hurricane Irma continues as residents and businesses and government entities are cleaning up, repairing damages and trying to get some disaster aid.

Dr. Jerry L. Picott Jr., principal of Campbell Middle School and Cameron L. Robinson, principal of Turie T. Small Elementary School, were among school staffers helping to feed local residents impacted by Hurricane Irma on Saturday at Campbell. School resumed on Monday.

Bethune Grill, a popular eatery located at 731 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., is one of the Black-owned establishments that’s are back up and running. The restaurant took a hit from lost business and product.

“The storm has definitely affected business. We have lost both money and merchandise.

We lost a total of nine days,” restaurant manager Rosemary Jenkins told the Daytona Times.

“We lost about 10 cases of chicken and three shipments. We were out of commission for an entire week. We also had to lower our orders during the time.’’

Slowly recovering
Jenkins said other businesses in the area were recovering slowly.

The business lost power twice, and for a week a downed light pole lay about 10 feet from its doors. The pole was finally fixed on Monday.

“We were frustrated with the process and the long wait. They seem to move faster in other parts of town where other businesses are. It was also safety concern for our customers and workers,” Jenkins remarked. “Also, the street had been blocked off, which limited access to the business. We had to block the off the driveway.’’

Salon suffers
Styles 101 Hair Salon and Barbershop, at 955 Orange Ave., and other businesses in the plaza, were dealing with water problems. On Monday, there were just a few customers in the salon.

According to the owner, a tree fell near the building and broke a water pipe.

“We are still recuperating. We have water issues. We’ve hired a plumber who can’t come to later this week. We were without water for some days. Somebody rigged the water back on. We’ve had to turn it on and off,” owner Pat Cadette told the Times.

Seeking disaster help
Cadette is looking to the government’s disaster assistance program to help her business recover.

She said, “I am applying for assistance through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). It’s not guaranteed that we get anything. We’ve tried to get help last year after Hurricane Matthew but didn’t. We even tried to get help when the county repaved Orange Avenue.”

Businesses along Orange Avenue have been hit hard in recent years with a tornado, two hurricanes and road construction.

“We’ve been hit back-to-back-to-back with the road construction and two hurricanes.

Hopefully, FEMA could be a blessing this time around,” added Cadette.

‘We Got You’ campaign
The faith-based community is trying to help.

The Rev. Monzell Ford, a local pastor, kicked off a “Texas, We Got You” campaign last month to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. He has Florida’s victims of Hurricane Irma.

“We need to shift focus from Texas. We’ll be trying to help both. We may be looking at helping to help Puerto Rico as well with the aftermath of Maria,” he told the Times. “We are working and keeping everything in focused. There are still a lot of people who need help. We can also use a lot of help.’’

On Sept. 17, Ford’s Kingdom Minded Worldwide Ministries teamed with Pastor Lisa Polite and Ministries for Christ Outreach to provide food for those without power during the storm.

“We were able to serve 250 people with bags of groceries with stable food and meat.

Pastor Polite even gave money to help some people with their needs,” noted Ford.

Oct. 4 cookout
A cookout will be held on Oct. 4 at Mason Commerce Park near the corner of Mason Avenue and Nova Road.

“It’s for those affected by the storm. We want to provide a place for them to sit and eat.

We want to get as many people involved in the recovery efforts. …We just want to show people God’s heart,” added Ford.

Most have power
Thousands of customers across Florida remained without power as of Wednesday but locally most power had been restored. According to Florida Power & Light’s website (www.fpl.com), power has been restored to most customers in Volusia County.

Of the 58,000 customers affected in Flagler, 57,990 customers’ power has been restored. Of 147,740 customers in Volusia, power had been restored to 147,710 affected as of early. Wednesday.

Still some closings
Around the county most businesses, government buildings and parks have reopened.
The Daytona Beach Regional Library at 105 East Magnolia Ave. on City Island remained closed on Wednesday because of flooding.

The Volusia County tag and title offices as well as other services and offices at 250 N. Beach St. also remained closed on Wednesday.

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