Workers at Bradenton area gas stations, and along University Parkway near Interstate 75, were seeing more customers Monday from hard-hit Lee, Charlotte and southern Sarasota counties.
More than 266,000 FPL customers from those three counties were still without electricity on Monday.
A family of four from Charlotte County stopped at the RaceTrac at State Road 70 and Caruso Road on Monday morning for gas and ”some relief” from the lingering power outage in their neighborhood.
“It’s very strange,” the mother said of being without power. “But at least we don’t have a tree in our house.”
On the south side of State Road 70, across from RaceTrac, a 7-Eleven was still temporarily closed Monday morning, and all of its gas pumps were covered in what looked like shrink wrap.
At the Wawa, 5208 University Parkway, next to Whole Foods, every pump was taken and cars and trucks jockeyed for position to fill up next.
Heather Knox, a Sarasota area resident, was filling her tank and said she waited for what seemed like a half hour to get a pump.
John Jones, who has a Punta Gorda junk removal business, was also at the Wawa, filling up. He was in the area looking for a landfill because the one in Charlotte County was closed.
“Fort Myers was ground zero for Ian. They had a lot of damage there. It wasn’t as bad in Punta Gorda, thankfully,” he said.
The lingering impacts of Ian went well beyond business at gas stations:
▪ Detwiler’s Farm Market reported that its Palmer and Venice stores remained closed Monday due to storm damage.
“We don’t have an ETA on when they will reopen. We were able to get Palmetto and Clark open on Friday and just reopened University this morning,” Detwiler’s said in a tweet message.
▪ Walmart issued a statement saying that at the peak of the storm, more than 250 stores and clubs were closed.
▪ The Mall at University Town Center, near I-75 and University Parkway, was open for business Monday.
“We didn’t lose power during the storm and only had some minor damages, like a few tree limbs down or signs misplaced. There was some storm drain backup on Cattlemen Road Saturday and Sunday, but the county was very quick about getting storm water pumps out onto their road to help pump the water out, which eliminated any major issues that could have occurred. There was no standing water inside the Mall at UTC parking field at all during the storm or the storm drain back-ups,” Lauren Clark, marketing and sponsorship director, said in an email.
▪ Other shopping centers within the University Town Center also fared well during and after Ian.
“UTC is a regional destination, so the area regularly attracts visitors from North Port and Fort Myers. We are seeing an influx of people, however, who are still without power and coming here to grab a meal or shop for supplies,” Julie Fanning, Benderson Development’s marketing director, said in an email.
▪ On Monday, all of The Home Depot stores in Florida were open. During Ian, more than 100 were closed.
▪ All of Lowes in Florida are open following Hurricane Ian. Lowes also announced a $2 million donation to disaster relief partners and non-profit Pro customers to support Hurricane Ian relief efforts. In the coming weeks, stores in the hardest-hit areas will host Bucket Brigade events to distribute free cleanup supplies to residents who are continuing recovery efforts. Buckets include supplies such as dust masks, goggles, bug spray, bottled water and mold remover.