Power was restored today to Bay Hills Shopping Center, however the financial trauma continues as storeowners try to get their businesses back on track following Hurricane Irene and its aftermath. The center has not had electricity since Saturday.
“We lost everything,” said Kevin Malone of about his meats and cheeses and sandwich fixings. By late morning he was trying to assess any damage to his deli counter and refrigeration needs. In between, a few employees of other stores were stopping by to buy some chips and sodas and dismayed that there wasn’t even coffee.
Every storefront in the center lost several days of business this week. This morning, stores were slowly re-opening and hoping that the customers would follow. Bay Hills Card & Gift had a few customers buying balloons and cards and candles. was up and running while was also doing business. owners Kevin and Kim Cantoli were getting their store in order and hoping another sidewalk sale would encourage customers to return.
“This power outage was devastating to our business,” the Cantolis said. “We tried our best to do sidewalk sales throughout but there were very few customers since the whole center was without power. Back-to-school is a huge part of our annual sales so this was not a good week.”
Della & Jane does expect to be open for the entire Labor Day weekend in hopes of making up some of those lost sales. Looking at their situation from a positive viewpoint, Kim Cantoli added that they do have a wireless credit card machine so that have been able to do credit transactions. “And at least we didn’t have to throw out all our inventory like the food vendors,” she added.
had their power but was not open this morning yet as a refrigeration repairman was working inside. Stores that sell food will also have to get the go-ahead from the county’s health department before re-opening.
And at , a sign said that the establishment would reopen at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. At least one patron looking for his daily caffeine could be heard feigning a cry of despair as he pressed his face against the locked coffee shop door.