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'We’re not going anywhere': Downtown owners speak about reopening

Posted at 4:03 PM, Oct 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 20:06:45-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Walking downtown Thursday morning you could hear the sound of garbage trucks, workers grabbing trash from the curbs of businesses, and dehumidifiers.

"Everybody has been rolling up their selves and getting to work... nobody said they want to leave, everybody is saying ‘I want to fix this I’m going to be back open’," said Nils Richter, owner of six major businesses downtown.

It's the sound of Downtown Fort Myers working to rebuild and reopen.

“We are going to be back better than ever once we are done with the rebuilding,” Richter said.

Restaurants like Downtown House of Pizza and First Street Restaurant opened the day after Hurricane Ian, but for others it might take a few more days, weeks or even months.

“Cabos' 10-year-anniversary is coming up in November, and we will be back open for the anniversary in November,” Richter said.

He owns Cabos Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar, Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza, Firestone, The Social House and more. He said after Cabos reopens Capone's is next on the list. He couldn't give an exact date but said “We’re not going anywhere".

Another Fort Myers staple close to downtown is Pinchers at the Marina. It doesn't matter if you are a local or an out of towner, the restaurant is a popular place to many. When speaking with the district manager he said the inside of the restaurant should reopen in two to four weeks. However, the marina won't be open for a couple of years.

When looking at the aftermath of Ian, the Marina is gone and the boats are piled up on each other.

“We are faced with something we haven’t been faced with and that’s the boats. We never had to really deal with that before," said Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson.

Mayor Anderson added that the city reached out to different organization like Southwest Florida Marinas Association for guidance and direction. Despite this dark cloud there is still a silver lining.

“When they are rebuilt, they will be rebuilt with all of the new codes and that will make them stronger and more storm resistant."

Mayor Anderson added that he is elated to see the progress that is happening in Fort Myers. He also wants the community to remember to be patient because downtown Fort Myers will be back and better than ever.