Many San Marco businesses closed as they clean up from floodwaters

Historic district in Jacksonville still drying out days after Irma

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville's historic San Marco district was hit hard by Irma, and many businesses were still closed days later as they cleaned up from the floodwaters.

At Bistro AIX, employees normally working for tips, instead, spent Wednesday trying to get the restaurant back in shape -- pulling out all of the furniture and many fixtures from the bar, cleaning them, and putting them in storage while they make major repairs. 

The general manager, Steve Serokee, said he never thought the St. Johns River would empty into the restaurant. 

"I was surprised on how much it flooded. We didn't expect the whole river to come into the restaurant. This area floods in San Marco, but not to the extent it flooded this time," Serokee said. "We prepared for it -- the flooding. We removed all the items about 2 feet off the ground to make sure it wouldn't get wet. But 3½ to 4 feet (of water) -- that's a lot of work."

Serokee said Bistro AIX could be closed for several weeks while they continue to clean and make repairs. 

It wasn't only Bistro AIX that felt Hurricane Irma's wrath, but the majority of business in the northern end of San Marco. Many were going through the same misery on Wednesday. 

Along Palm Avenue in San Marco, water rose chest-high on Monday.

The people who work at and own Medscribe Information Systems found a lot of their equipment now has to bed tossed after the water came in the first floor and damaged computers, copiers and many other items. 

"We had everything covered, thinking the water might come from the top down, and surprise," said Gary Jurenodich, with Medscribe Information Systems. "Clean up it up -- that's all."

They know the work to clean up is difficult, but they hope to be open as soon as the power comes back on.

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