Aerial drone footage over Fort Myers Beach on Aug. 21, 2018.

Fort Myers Beach chamber to hold business consulting workshop over red tide

While the red tide isn’t scaring some visitors away in Southwest Florida, that’s not the case on the beach.

At the Pierside Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach it’s normally packed, but now there’s empty seats everywhere.

Amy and Tre Gillette bought a business seven years ago when they fell in love with Fort Myers Beach and decided to move here.

Since then, the Gillettes have made a name for Tuckaway Cafe on the beach, “Basically why we moved to this new location, to expand our business and we expand our hours,” hours they now have to cut, “I’ve never really seen it affect our business like this.”

The Gillettes say they have over 10 employees that work for them and it’s been a hardship for them with hours are being cut, “We’re doing everything we can. We’re kind of in survival mode, trying to cut our losses, control our expenses and trying to, trying to stay alive so to speak.”

It’s all because of red tide scaring away visitors and news of algae swamping nearby cities like Cape Coral.

This is something businesses along the beaches are seeing and now they’re looking to experts for help.

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce says on average, the town’s losing $2.6 million each week.

That’s why the chamber’s hosting a consultant from the Small Business Development Center on Wednesday, to help keep doors open.

The consultant will meet with business owners about strategies, proactive crisis management, recovery, future plans and more.

And hopefully it won’t be long before red tide clears away from our beaches.

But in the mean time, the town hopes to help.

You can get advice at that Business Consulting Workshop all day Wednesday at the Chamber of Commerce until 5 p.m.

For more information visit the Chamber website or call (239)454-7500.

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