SWFL businesses says evacuees helping turnaround holiday weekend

There are some silver linings for businesses in Southwest Florida ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s approach along the east coast. People are evacuating to our side of the state, and it’s especially good for businesses after a slow Labor Day weekend.

With Southwest Florida continuing to remain outside of Dorian’s forecast cone with every update, business manager and owners told us they are seeing turnaround thanks to the evacuees traveling to the area.

“We plan early. We have a routine, and we always look for the best spot to go,” said Martin Martin, who evacuated with his family from Jupiter in Palm Beach County.

Martin and his family came across the state and went south to Naples, stopping at Brooks Burgers and Hot Dogs in Naples.

“Being a veteran of hurricanes, you’ll learn to go early,” Martin said. “And you know the signs and figure it out. You follow the tracks, and you make a quick decision.”

For owner Todd Brooks, the decision to stay open took patience all week, since the formation of the track has been slow to solidify. And it has also been slow business, with empty restaurant patios and roads.

“We know last time it changed courses on us at the last minute, so people are hesitant,” Brooks said.

Brooks said, compared to Labor Day last year, sales are down by 50%, but he said things are looking up.

“We had a lunch rush today,” Brooks said. “A lot of people from Miami that came over, and I think they’re waiting out the storm. So I think we’re gonna be busy tomorrow too.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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