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Debby Leaves Watery Trail for Businesses

Tropical Storm Debby has moved on, but her effects are still visible in Gulfport. Local businesses are picking up the pieces and looking ahead to prepare for future storms.

The main strip in Gulfport is host to a slew of local businesses. the  and were all victims to Tropical Storm Debby’s wrath. were hazards for staff and guests while the financial effect of closing their doors was also damaging.

on local businesses as well as the reality of the continuing storm season. O’Maddy’s suffered minor bumps and bruises from Debby.

Although places like O’Maddy’s experienced flooding, they say not much can be done in terms of prevention.

“We’ve had two feet of water in here before,” said Joe Gunther, Owner at O’Maddy’s. Due to the location of the establishment, Gunther said that there is no way to keep the water from coming in.

“We’re right there and we’re wide open,” added Gunther.

Gunther says they do what they can and that means storing electrical equipment away from the floor so that in the event of a storm like Debby, the damage will be manageable. For the most part, the loss came from the store having to close its doors.

Gunther said Sunday is one of the busiest days of the week for the restaurant portion and closing was “a huge loss” financially. However, the bar remained open and a number of customers showed up in kayaks, canoes and even a dingy.

Other area businesses, like the Neptune Bar, are considering a game plan for hurricane season. After witnessing the effects of Debby, Manager Gus Vartsakis said that the venue is looking into getting “professional help” that may prevent flooding in the future.

Vartsakis and the staff at the Neptune prepared for Debby by placing sandbags near the openings of the establishment, but the water was persistent.

“We tried to keep the water out, but it was not really effective,” said Vartsakis. “The water still got inside.”

Like Gunther, Vartsakis said that the damage came from the lost business. The restaurant and bar closed its doors for two days while Debby crept slowly through the city.

Domain Home Accessories, which neighbors the Neptune Bar, was also flooded. However, because of the kind spirit that Gulfport’s residents possess, help was on the way in no time at all.

According to Domain’s Facebook page, “water made its way throughout the entire shop” at the Beach Blvd. store. After putting out an SOS message, a large group of helpers showed up at Domain, where they used shop vacs to soak up the water and relieve the merchandise from damage.

Domain officially reopened its doors on Wednesday, while O’Maddy’s and the Neptune Bar started back up on Tuesday.

Sarah Jacobson June 28, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Thanks for your solid reporting during this storm. You kept all of us in Gulfport up-to-date with your 'Breaking News' articles, photos and videos.
Jan Marie June 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM
yes thank you for your updates - most valuable! Wish our HOA would do the same!!!
Rachel Jolley June 28, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Sarah and Jan- thanks for reading and sharing!
Cherlene Willis June 28, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Thanks so much ladies! It was a very busy week for everyone in Gulfport and we just wanted to make sure residents in town and up North were up to date on all of Debby's twists and turns. We are also on Facebook and Twitter! - Cherlene
Lori Rosso June 28, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Gulfport is back to normal and OPEN for Business. Come on down and support your local businesses who have been out of comission since Saturday!

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