Storm Prep Minimized Damage at Village Pub (VIDEO)
Being informed and prepared saved the Village Pub in Gulfport from facing severe damage during Tropical Storm Debby.
Tropical Storm Debby managed to cause some major flooding across Tampa Bay. In Gulfport, Florida, flooding got so bad that people used kayaks to traverse the streets.
"Just a good storm can really do some damage," said Kurt Hardy, owner of The Village Pub in Gulfport.
The Village Pub was located right in the middle of the flooding and could have faced some serious damage, if not for some careful planning.
Even though the Pub was flooded because water came through the floorboards, the furniture was saved by placing it in the highest part of the building.
The Pub still had a lot to clean up after the storm, but smart thinking helped to minimize the damage.
"It's better to be safe than sorry," Hardy said.
Throughout the city's treasured downtown core, business owners recite stories similar to Hardy's - some faring better than others.
At Domain Home Accessories, owner Mike Knettel said Tropical Storm Debby caused "a few thousand dollars" in damage to the store located at 3129 Beach Blvd.
But it could have been worse without some quick action by Knettel and his staff.
The store, which is a mix of fine art, home decor and gifts, had about 3-inches of water inside and 6-inches outside after Debby.
The water destroyed items that were situated on the floor of the store. Knettel said he spent three days after the storm sucking out water with a vacuum.
He also duct-taped doors, and put sandbags against the front door. Knettel, an engineer, also built a divertor outside the store to direct water into the street and away from his store.
Going into the 2013 hurricane season, Knettel said he now knows how to prepare.
"Stay in tune with the weather," Knettel said as a tip to other business owners. "Be proactive."
On a recent morning at O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, located at 5405 Shore Blvd., clients sipped Bloody Mary's while the bar staff set up for a busy day. The restaurant serves as an anchor to downtown Gulfport and sits along the shore of Boca Ciega Bay.
But despite how close it is to the water, general manager Joe Guenther said the restaurant didn't suffer much damage during Tropical Storm Debby.
After the "No Name Storm" that hit Tampa Bay in 1993, Guenther said they put in several storm-proof improvements, including concrete footers, hurricane doors and metal doors in front of the building to block water and winds.
"I can't imagine cutting corners," said Guenther, adding that the improvements are above code standards.
"If you're going to build something you might as well build it stronger," he said. "It's about protecting your investment."