SANFORD, Fla. – Dees Brothers Brewery, a business in downtown Sanford, was among many hit by floods caused by Hurricane Ian.
According to owner Michael Dees, the brewery first opened in August 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While business was slow the first couple of months, Dees said the business was eventually able to pick up, though Ian brought that to a halt.
Dees said he began hearing a trickle of water at about 5 a.m. Thursday.
He told News 6 he stayed at the shop Thursday night to try to prevent major flood damage. However, he said water began spouting from multiple holes in the wall and welling up from the drains.
“All combined, that was quite a few gallons per minute,” he said.
Brenda Urias, owner of the Bicikleta store across the street, said she was cleaning her shop after water leaks caused her ceiling panels to fall to the ground.
She said after cleaning, she walked the area around her store, looking for others who might need help, which is when she spotted Dees battling rushing water.
“I mean, we didn’t even think about it,” she said. “It’s like, OK, let’s grab some mops and help them out.”
While they were able to eventually clean up the brewery, a vat of beer was ruined due to a power outage, Dees said.
“There are thousands of dollars retail value in that tank,” he said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced at a conference Tuesday that $50 million would be made available through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program, which will provide loans of up to $50,000 to help Florida businesses impacted by Ian.
“It gives short-term 0% interest loans to small businesses that experience economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian,” DeSantis said during the conference.
While the funding will go toward helping small businesses across Florida, Dees said that Florida residents should still consider lending their neighbors a helping hand.
“It’s really important to help the folks around you because if we all work together, we can all get through this mess and succeed,” Dees said.
Applications for the program will stay open through December or until funding runs out. For more information or to apply, visit floridadisaster.biz.
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