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A look at Volusia businesses after Hurricane Ian drenched the region

Quail Hollow Mobile Home Park in New Smyrna Beach has some of the many homes in Volusia County affected by flooding from Hurricane Ian. Image: VCSO from video
Quail Hollow Mobile Home Park in New Smyrna Beach has some of the many homes in Volusia County affected by flooding from Hurricane Ian. Image: VCSO from video

The National Weather Service reported that New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater saw more than 19 inches of rain when Hurricane Ian hit Volusia County. In East Central Florida, Volusia saw the most rainfall from the storm. WMFE's Talia Blake spoke with Stephanie Ford, Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, about how businesses are doing now after the storm.

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Stephanie Ford is the Executive Director at the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce. (photo: Chamber Website)[/caption]

Reopening After the Storm

Businesses in Southeast Volusia County are slowly reopening after Hurricane Ian dumped more than 19 inches of rain in the area.

Stephanie Ford said that businesses in New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, a Oak Hill, are reopened. "I feel like about 85% are back up and normal operating," she said. 

The remaining 15% of businesses that are still closed are citing staffing issues as the main problem to reopen. "A lot of the water receded from the main business areas. I'm hearing of minor damage and some flooding, but not enough to keep the door shut," explains Ford. "But the residents flooding was very, very significant due to some folks not being able to get out of their street or neighborhood."

Also, Ford said 60-70% of businesses in southeast Volusia County are small businesses. "We have a lot of small business owners where there's one person running the show," says Ford. "And they don't have additional staff or support."

Full Recovery

It will take months for parts of Florida to fully recover from Hurricane Ian and Ford says that's also the case with Volusia County. "We're all hoping that it takes the least amount of time possible, but with  people like Habitat for Humanity, other organizations and agencies, and the volunteer efforts that are planned and are happening, I think that it will certainly be quicker than we than we thought."

As businesses assess damage and reopen to the public, Ford said it's important to have a little patience and spread kindness. "It's also important to have patience with those folks because there may be staff challenges, and there may be limited product and it's gonna take a little while for us to get back to a full  recovery," she explained.

After a brief stint as Morning Edition Producer at The Public’s Radio in in Rhode Island, Talia Blake returned to WMFE, the station that grew her love for public radio. She graduated with a double-major in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!). While at UCF, she was an intern for WMFE’s public affairs show, Intersection. In her spare time, Talia is an avid foodie and enjoys working out.
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