San Marco businesses trying to bounce back after Hurricane Irma

Meow and Barks Boutique reopens after floodwaters forced store to close

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two months after Hurricane Irma brought mass devastation to Jacksonville, several neighborhoods, including San Marco, are still rebuilding. 

Floodwaters forced several businesses to close in September, but some of them have since been able to reopen. 

Meow and Barks Boutique on San Marco Boulevard was closed for several weeks following Irma. Owner Traci Evans told News4Jax on Friday that her store had several feet of water inside it.

But thanks to help from the community, Evans said, she's finally back in business.

"We were hit by Irma. We had over 3 feet of standing water inside of the boutique. We lost most of our fixtures, all of our furniture," Evans said. "We did lose a great amount of inventory."

Evans said it was tough to come to grips with her store being out of commission. She said now that the doors are open again, it's an opportunity for new adventures.

"We're able to revamp our store. We recently built a stage here for our mannequins, so we'll be able to give our customers a visual experience," Evans said. "Then on the second half of the store, we're working on a digital experience."

Though Meow and Barks Boutique was able to reopen, several San Marco restaurants remain closed, including Bistro Aix.

As of Friday, European Street Cafe was also still closed after suffering flood damage. 

Vino's Pizza and Grill had a sign on its door saying it will open again soon.

News4Jax drove further into San Marco, and found repairs being made to a flood-damaged road. 

Back at Meow and Barks, Evans said she hopes all of the San Marco businesses closed because of the storm will reopen soon. 

"I would definitely suggest for them to look at things and if it looks, like, 'Hey, we're weighing the scale,' go with the rebuild," she said. "Definitely put the time in and reach out. Let your customers, your clients and community know and get your business back going."

Evans said the community contributed to her store's reopening. One way was a fashion show she hosted Thursday night to raise money for upgrades to the store.