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First Fort Myers Beach store reopens since Ian

Tunaskin hosts pop-up shop outside building
Posted at 3:35 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 18:30:42-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Almost two months after Ian, Fort Myers Beach hit a reinvigorating milestone. A beloved clothing store, Tunaskin, is the first official clothing store to open since the hurricane.

It's not in their original building, but in a pop-up trailer in their parking lot.

"There wasn't much left to the store," said Bill Bronsord, owner of Tunaskin. "We found a few pieces of inventory."

A good portion of the inventory ended up nearly two miles away.

"A couple days after the storm we ran into some shrimpers and learned that they received a lot of our apparel," said Dana Bronsord, owner of Tunaskin.

They had to order new clothing, while reeling with the effects of Ian.

"But there’s no way to prepare. It was devastating," Dana said. "We have to get back for not us, but all of them."

They got the trailer about two weeks before Ian hit.

"What better way to make sure everyone knows we’re coming back to the island and make sure we have a presence than setting up our event trailer," Bill said.

On Friday morning, they opened at 9:00 a.m. and had people waiting outside the trailer.

"We were thrilled. We didn’t know if we would have a customer today," Dana said.

One customer was Susan Anderson, who unexpectedly stopped by.

"I was so excited when I drove by and saw they were open," she said. "I pulled right in and said I need some shirts."

Anderson knows what it's like to lose a business. She does cycling classes and lost her bikes to Ian.

"It’s like getting over and moving on and that’s what we need to do," she said.

Anderson says you need to grieve to rebuild, which is what the Fort Myers Beach community is doing one day at a time.

"We aren’t going anywhere. This is our home," Bill said.

A home we all want to see get back to its former glory, and stronger.

"FMB strong. We’re here, we’re strong. We’re going to rebuild and we’re going to do it together," Anderson said.

Tunaskin will be open on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9-5. A portion of the profits from one shirt goes back to two employees who lost their homes to Ian. The remainder will go to rebuilding Fort Myers Beach.

"We're here for the long run," Bill said. "We're hoping to have plans here within the next month or so and start the rebuilding process."