NORTH PORT, Fla. – The City of North Port has about 2,000 small businesses and many of them are still on the rebound after Hurricane Ian.
Whether it be from structural damage or employees coping with personal losses, the city is trying to help keep the businesses going.
The storm damaged Abbe’s Donuts Port Charlotte Shop, and it’s now closed temporarily. One of its employees, Rebecca Shamp understands the loss.
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“I myself lost everything. I’m down to a couple of outfits and two dogs,” she said.
Their North Port shop continues on with each dollar that passes through helping the business, employees and the community.
“Come spend local. It’s very important to spend locally, because the money stays here,” said Shamp.
The City of North Port is even asking residents and those visiting over the holidays and approaching new year to shop, dine and entertain small.
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“They’ve suffered not only some physical damages, but economic damage as well,” said Vinnie Mascarenhas, the interim manager for the City of North Port’s Economic Development Division. “With their work force being displaced, not having power, and having to be closed for a while and our entrepreneurial community, they are not the type of people that ask for help. They get back to work, they open back up. The best way. The direct way that we can show our support for them is to purchase their unique goods. Something you won’t find from a big box retailer or online, something here in North Port.”
At Salt and Light Holistic Spa, a prayer wall shows a snapshot of customer’s worries.
“It’s important that we all support each other and show each other love and anything we can to help,” said Leslie Copeland, a co-owner for Salt and Light Holistic Spa.
Leslie and Ciara Copeland, the owners of the spa, work to do that daily.
“We have a lot of cool people that come in here and give us support too. So we are just all in it together,” said Ciara.
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Supporting one another can be as easy as buying a gift or a donut from a local shop.
“There’s a lot of great people that live here and a lot of wonderful local businesses,” said Leslie Copeland.
The city also hosts meetings for small business owners. Following Hurricane Ian, they worked to call more than 1,200 locally owned shops and restaurants to offer assistance.
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