Tropical Storm Hermine dampened some Labor Day plans on Maryland’s coast, but in Florida, it caused devastation.
Businesses on the shore were hit hard, including one just opened by a Baltimore County native. Shannon Sykes and her boyfriend and chef, Jordan Keeton, opened 83 West in Cedar Key, Florida on May 13, 2016.
Sykes said business had just started picking up when Hermine hit.
“All of our dock except for one little section on the left side of the building was completely torn off. It actually landed probably two streets over across a whole other marina. It traveled quite a bit,” Sykes said.
Without flood insurance, she estimates the repairs to be around $200,000. Sykes’ aunt in Perry Hall saw what had happened and launched a GoFundMe with the goal of raising that amount.
“The only thing I thought at that moment was to do something to help her be able to rebuild her dream,” said Kelly Lehr.
She also wanted to help her re-open so that the people put out of work can get back to business.
“The restaurant employed 30 people and they're all out of work now, so as soon as they can be rebuilt those 30 can be re-employed and she said they had plans to hire 20 or 30 more,” Lehr said.
Cedar Key is a community of only about 700 people. Sykes said they've been very supportive, but the Fallston High and University of Maryland graduate is also appealing to her home base to help her get back up and running.
“I'm a Maryland girl through and through. I'm a huge Orioles fan, probably the biggest Manny Machado fan ever,” Sykes said. “We're here in this tiny Florida community but we try to represent Maryland as much as possible. We miss it. We miss home but this is where our life has brought us and we're grateful for that and we're grateful for everything we've had.”
Sykes’ bar manager, Jill Streett, is also a UMD grad and they have Baltimore-brewed Heavy Seas Ale on tap.
If you'd like to help with the recovery effort, click here.