SANIBEL

The island, which was one of the many places hardest hit after Hurricane Yang, is dealing with the fact that they are newly discovered.

Sanibel continues to be a place where in some places it feels like the hurricane was just days ago, and in others it feels like the island is miles ahead of where people might have thought it would be three months later.

Too many businesses on the island have been ripped from the hands of business owners, managers and employees who loved where they worked. Some have thrown in the towel, while others have continued and will continue to do so until they find a new normal.

Three businesses closed by Hurricane Yang are now working hard to survive. One of them is the Blue Giraffe Cafe, which is a Sanibel staple.

“Our lives have been completely elevated in a way that the normal mind cannot simply comprehend,” said Michael Puente, manager of the Blue Giraffe Cafe.

Starting from scratch, The Pecking Order, which once boasted the best fried chicken on the island, is also fighting for a comeback.

“I can’t sit and think about the devastation at all,” said Bridget Budd, owner of The Pecking Order.

A haven for anglers, Whitney’s Bait and Tackle is also pushing through the devastation into the future.

“All the hard work we put into him to get him to where he was in just 24 hours was ruined,” said Jim Bryan of Whitney’s Bait and Tackle.

Puente, Bud and Brian have something in common. They decided to press forward after the hurricane, despite the wreckage, loss and massive damage.

Giving up was never an option.

“No. Once we were able to get onto land here on the island and assess it ourselves, you know, we made commitments, you know, for recovery and things like that. It is not easy. And, you know, we’ll take those calls as they come,” Puente said.

A big problem is the closed beaches, which means less tourists and customers.

“We do a little business. We do what we can. But nowhere is like what was on the island before the hurricane, – said Brian.

The current reality won’t stop these three from doing what they do best; serving their customers.

“I’m personally just looking forward to the future,” Budd said.

The Blue Giraffe is operated from a food truck on Periwinkle Road. Whitney’s Bait and Tackle is open and Bud hopes to have fried chicken again for Mother’s Day.

They all need support now. Brian said if you have money, come spend it on Sanibel.

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