Tybee Island open for business despite hurricane damage - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee Island open for business despite hurricane damage

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Local business owners affected by Irma continue to recover through insurance and even federal assistance, all while trying to make the best of the remainder of a busy season. 

From Tybee Island to Savannah, we've been talking to business owners about the effort. 

Perhaps one of the hardest hit, not only by initial impacts from Irma but also the now lingering effects of slow business, is Tybee's service industry. Even though there are some who have cut back on hours of operation, the hospitality industry that drives the community's economy is ready for your business, and frankly, depending on it. 

"This is the period of time that everybody here on Tybee that's in the service industry needs to make their money," said Anthony Debreceny, Owner, The Deck. 

Debreceny says tough decisions lie ahead if business doesn't pick up. 

"We'll be looking at potentially laying off a few of the staff members as we're only currently running at about 50 percent of the capacity that we were prior to the hurricane," he said. 

He says it's not the physical damage, rather the perception of damage that could be keeping patrons away. After seeing storm video and how bad things got miles away at the Wyld Dock Bar, the general manager there says many were surprised to see his business back up and running so quickly.

"With as much water that came in here, there was so much more flood water that came in here than last year. I think everybody is a little surprised that we are actually open," said Nicholas McNabb, GM, The Wyld Dock Bar. 

Now that repairs are underway or already made, attention turns to recovering money lost as a result of the storm. Where insurance lags or falls short, the Small Business Administration steps in. An SBA representative gave an example of how a business could qualify for an economic injury disaster loan. 

"Roads out, people can't get to me, I'm losing revenue as a result of the incident. I've got a restaurant. Food goes bad, freezer went out, no electricity. I can qualify for economic injury," said Greg Dawson, SBA, Public Affairs Specialist. 

Both of those restaurant leaders we spoke with say they are working through private insurance and have learned a lot of lessons during Matthew that will hopefully make that process go more smoothly. 

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