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Naples Restaurant Owners Display Resilience One Year After Hurricane Ian

Though Hurricane Ian’s decimation struck on September twenty eighth, reckoning day for 4 independent restaurant owners in Naples was on September twenty ninth, 2022, after they visited their businesses for the primary time post-storm to survey and tackle the damage. What do the 4 have in common? Despite the heavy impact on their physical structures, each had the determination to rebuild and went on to have a successful season. This resilience factor was crucial.

One in every of the affected restaurants, Nosh on Naples Bay, had breathtaking water views and was open for less than nine months when Hurricane Ian “tested them to the brink”. Chef Todd Johnson, who has lived in Naples since he was 10 and owns the restaurant together with his wife Dana, described the heartbreaking moment after they witnessed the water coming in from the safety cameras while they were at home. The couple headed to Nosh the following morning, faced with boats within the road and automotive checks by police trying to find potential looters.

Upon unlocking the doors, they were shocked by the mud, destruction, and partitions bubbling up, in addition to knocked-over kitchen equipment, including latest combi ovens delivered just at some point prior. After cleansing up and rearranging the equipment, Nosh began to look presentable again. Nevertheless, the local franchise of Serv Pro disagreed after assessing the water damage and determined that an excessive amount of damage had already occurred. All banquettes and furniture had to get replaced, despite their previous repute as one among Naples’ most beautiful restaurants.

Although Johnson had flood insurance and business interruption insurance, he never received any financial assistance from either, despite incurring $400,000 in damage. FEMA denied their insurance claim resulting from their location being below the required seven feet above sea level and attributed the damage to the storm surge relatively than the hurricane itself. Rebuilding Nosh was a difficult task, especially since that they had to fund it out of pocket a second time with zero help from insurance. In addition they had bills to pay and were concerned concerning the well-being of their staff.

Nosh eventually reopened on November twenty second, however the experience left a long-lasting impact on Johnson. He referred to it as “PTID: Post-traumatic Ian disorder”, comparing it to PTSD and describing the constant state of alertness they now feel.

The owner of The Real Macaw, Siobhan Cleveland, also experienced the devastation of Hurricane Ian. Although they were spared flooding of their 30 years of operation, the storm surge caused significant damage. The restaurant did not have contents insurance, but Cleveland stays prepared for future hurricanes. Despite the challenges, she focuses on the positive facets and the resilience of the community that got here together within the face of adversity.

At Osteria Capri, Chef-Owner AJ Black was caught off guard by the storm surge that flooded the restaurant despite it being “low tide.” Nevertheless, he considers himself fortunate to have been capable of clean up and reopen quickly in comparison with others who were still waiting for insurance assistance. Black has been through hurricanes before and recognizes the trade-off of living in Florida where natural disasters are a possibility.

For Jane Wood, co-owner of Jane’s Café on Third Street South, the damage attributable to Hurricane Ian was heartbreaking. She had just finished renovations on her restaurant, just for the whole lot to be destroyed. Despite the challenges, she stays hopeful and determined to rebuild and get better.

These stories of resilience and determination display the strength of those independent restaurant owners within the face of natural disasters. They embody the spirit of rebuilding and moving forward, even when faced with significant obstacles.

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