What's next for Atlantic Beach boutique repeatedly hit by vehicles?

AshleGryre owner says insurance company dropping her after 4th crash in 4 years

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - The owner of an Atlantic Beach boutique is thinking about what's next for her shop that was hit by a vehicle for the fourth time in four years.

Robin Spence, the owner of AshleGryre, said her insurance company is now dropping her after police said a truck plowed into the retail store, which is located where northbound Third Street meets Atlantic Boulevard, on Monday morning. 

AshleGryre was still covered with debris Thursday as the owner spent the day tallying inventory, getting ready for the insurance adjuster to come out one last time to asses the damage.

Spence said she's working to figure out a solution to an even bigger issue that's left plywood covering the storefront four times now.

"It’s a challenging situation," she said. "We don’t have industries that plan and prepare for a drunk driver. It is just going to be a difficult situation for all of us to decide what is going to be the best safety barrier."

Since AshleGryre is on private property, the city’s hands are tied. Any changes to the lot are up to the property owner. News4Jax tried reaching out to him multiple times with no response. 

After a crash in March, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser sent a letter to the property owner, asking him to consider installing bollards or other barriers. 

This time, she will be meeting him in person. 

"I think our job as a city is to just try to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to represent the best interest of our people," Glasser said. 

The mayor also contacted the Florida Department of Transportation, asking it to do a safety study at the intersection where the boutique is located. News4Jax has learned those results are expected within the next month. 

"I feel like we’re on the right track in terms of our role as a city to nudge things along," Glasser said. "This is an event that could’ve been prevented earlier. There is no question about that. But all we can do is move forward."

The owner of AshleGryre said she’s thankful for the outpouring of community support. She said other local boutiques are opening up their doors, offering space for her to do popup shops as the busy holiday shopping season approaches. 

She’s expecting her business to be closed for four to five months. The store will also miss celebrating its five-year anniversary next week.

William Southworth is facing DUI charges after police said he slammed his truck into the AshleGryre boutique Monday morning. 

Southworth, 21, was booked into the Duval County jail on charges of DUI, DUI with property damage and reckless driving, but was released Monday evening after posting $17,500 bond, online jail records show. 

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