Jacksonville-area small businesses suffering after Hurricane Irma

Many local businesses forced to remain closed because they're without power

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With tens of thousands in the Jacksonville area without power Friday, local businesses continue to suffer after Hurricane Irma as many remain closed.

News4Jax found offices, stores and restaurants shut down across the area -- from downtown Jacksonville to Avondale to St. Johns County.

Small businesses on the Southside, near Old Kings Road and San Jose Manor Drive, were still without power. Many of the businesses in the area are the definition of mom-and-pop stores, and without electricity, they can't make money. 

RELATED: Many San Marco businesses closed as they clean up from floodwaters

At Charlotte Burch's bakery, Cupcake 50, the smells of freshly baked goods are long gone. She had to throw them out, along with all her cooking supplies. 

"I lost lots of eggs, lots of milk," she said.

Power has been out along Jacksonville’s Old Kings Road since Sunday, and so has Burch's business. She supplies cupcakes to Winn-Dixie and restaurants, and has a kiosk at the Avenues Mall. But all that’s on hold until her power comes back.

"I just want to be up and going again," Burch said. "I want to get back to work."

She’s not alone, as the whole strip was still in the dark on Friday. 

At the Metro Barber Shop, there's normally three people at work. But as of Friday, they can't work because the shop has no electricity, meaning no air conditioning and no lights. They can't do their job and, therefore, they can't make any money.

Next door, at 8 Till Late Food and Beverage, owner Krunal Patel said he's out $15,000 to $20,000. He said he had to throw away a lot of perishable items. 

"You can't sell it because if somebody got sick, then they got trouble," he said.

Patel supports six people, including his parents and 3-year-old son. He said his store allows him to feed his family, and he has no other way to do that.

The frustrating thing for those business owners is other places in the neighborhood have had electricity for days, and they said it's just not fair. The businesses across the street were up and running just fine on Friday. 

RELATED: FEMA assistance: What it covers, how to apply

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to help small businesses recover from declared disasters. Small business owners can apply for federal assistance by calling the SBA at 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

About the Author: