As Hurricane Irma inched its way closer to South Florida, Anthony Dumas was determined to sell his last pint of ice cream before the pending power outages consigned them to a melted end.
“I sold over 100 pints [of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams] for $2 a pint. It costs $12 normally.” It was a deal he was thankful his manufacturer let him give at a loss to their bottom line. “They were amazing. Nobody does that . . . people came as far as Plantation to get it.” He also sold batteries, water, and other supplies – one of the few small business owners in the city, which is mostly known as a bar and restaurant destination, able to offer such supplies.
But like other Wilton Manors business owners, Dumas also boarded-up, laid down sandbags, and took other precautions, including the installation of clear plastic shutters which are designed to protect windows and still let customers see his neon open sign.
“I lifted everything off the floor,” he said, remembering the 2011 Halloween downpour that caused a lot of flooding in the city. “I wasn’t taking chances.”
Tony Logrande, owner of the Zig Zag Building, also boarded up and gave his tenants until Thursday to get what they needed out of their offices.
He’s hopeful that Wilton Manors and South Florida have escaped the worst of Irma but he’s still expecting a lot. “I’m concerned. Just because we’re not in the eye [of the storm] we’re still going to get high wind gusts and lots of rain.”
He said family members in Tampa offered to take him in when the storm looked to make landfall in South Florida. Now that it’s shifted west as of today, he said he returned the favor and offered them shelter here. “You don’t know what to do. Things could still change,” he said.
Nick Berry, co-owner of Rumors Bar & Grill and Shawn & Nick’s Courtyard Café, said he’s breathing a sigh of relief. “We boarded-up and took all the canopies down and brought everything in from the outside.” As of today, he was still open for a couple of hours. “We’re running out of product.” But he made sure to board up in preparation.
He’s confident he won’t wake up after Irma and see devastation, and he’s sure he’ll be able to open up as soon as electricity is back on and the deliveries flow once more.