Manic Monday for Thomas Drive Business Owners

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

The damages assessment continues in the Thomas Drive area. It was the first to be hit by a series of tornados that spun off of Ivan's feeder bands. Business owners are wondering when they'll be able to open their doors again.

The Cardenas family just built a new seafood market to replace the old trailer they used to operate out of. The old trailer was completely destroyed by the first tornado, and their new building was severely damaged as well.

The Cardenas are not alone either. At least one gas station on Thomas Drive sits in ruin. Waffle Shop and Hamilton's Restaurant are completely destroyed. The tornado also cut up a local hair salon.

Those that can say they are determined to open. Panama Marina, Captain Anderson's, Pier 77 and Billy's Oyster Bar and Crab House sustained only minor damaged. They're all either open, or plan to open this week.

That just leaves small business owners like the Cardenas that are determined to pick up the pieces and move on.

"My son and husband have worked seven days a week for months to get this business running, and I guess we'll do the same thing again. We want to make our customers happy. We'll be back," says Wanda Cardenas.

The Cardenas family not only works inside the new building, they also live there. Now the windows are gone and the walls are coming off the foundation, but like most of the business owners in the area, the Cardenas say they will be back.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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