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Red tide still impacting businesses on Sanibel Island

Businesses still feeling impact from red tide
Posted: 9:51 AM, Mar 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-01 14:51:56Z

SANIBEL, Fla. -- Even though the coast is clear of red tide on the beaches , businesses are still feeling the impact from the summer and preparing for the future.

Joey’s Custard has been open on Sanibel island for 3 years, “in the beginning we were focusing how are we going to grow this and make this better,” said Joseph Almeida, Owner, Joey’s Custard.

Now, Joseph Almeida says the effects of red tide from the summer forced him into finding out a way to survive long term.

“To stay in business we really had to think about this hard, what was going to be worth it, what’s going to worth the investment, what’s going to work 365 days as opposed to just working for season or the off season,” said Almeida.

Joey’s Custard closed for almost a month in September because business was so slow.

When it opened back up they stopped serving breakfast and lunch and cut a third of its business hours.

It also downsized in staff, by letting go some management positions.

“It was heartbreaking, one of my managers had been my best friend for 20 years, I mean we’ve been around each other our whole lives,” said Almeida.

The Pecking Order restaurant is also feeling the impact from red tide.

“We are still paying a price for that and so are the other fellow restaurants and accommodations,” said Bridgit Stone, Co-owner, The Pecking Order.

Bridgit Stone has owned the fried chicken shop with her husband for 5 years, “I think we will bounce back for sure and get back to our original numbers, if now higher, but don’t know how long that is going to take,” said Stone.

“You really want to hope for the best and plan for the worse,” said Almeida.

Both restaurants say they’ve been steadily busy this season and optimistic about the future.