The scene from Lakewood Ranch Main Street to Bradenton’s Old Main Street was much the same Monday: shuttered and cluttered.
An exception was Lou’s Diner on Old Main, which was one of the first businesses to reopen after the curfew was lifted Monday morning and Hurricane Irma had moved north.
Lou’s Diner opened even before the Waffle House off State Road 64, which is usually 24/7.
Lou Thomey, 52, who co-owns the diner with Thomas Stynes, 49, said she thought they might as well open as they had little damage beyond a shredded awning and never lost power.
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“The moment we opened the door, people were saying, ‘Thank God, I’ve been out of cigarettes for two days’” Thomey said.
Thomey could only offer a limited menu Monday — grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches — but it was enough to attract a capacity lunch crowd.
At Lakewood Ranch Main Street, strewn with landscaping and palm fronds, businesses remained closed Monday morning, but several residents sat outside Starbucks and used the still-functioning Wi-Fi.
Some trees were down, but we are truly blessed. There are a lot of people without power.
Nancy Roever, The Stampers Cove 2
Tom Hempherville, a resident of Summerfield Village, used Starbucks Wi-Fi to tap out messages on his smart phone to friends and family that he was OK.
“We lost power about 8:30 Sunday night,” Hempherville said.
Jesus and Victoria Dominguez, owners of Trend Transformations, 6293 Lake Osprey Drive, were also without power at home, and came into their shop to brew a cup of coffee. And to check on their business.
“We have so many doors and windows and we wanted to check on them,” Jesus Dominguez said.
Nearby, Nancy and John Roever of The Stampers Cove 2, drove in from their home in Myakka City to remove shutters from their business.
“Some trees were down, but we are truly blessed. There are a lot of people without power,” Nancy Roever said.
The Roevers said they hope to reopen their business on Tuesday.
Many gasoline stations were closed across Manatee County on Monday, as were most of the shops in University Park, including the Mall at University Town Center.
A few businesses were opening Monday at Palma Sola Square off Manatee Avenue West.
“We can be in business today if need be,” said Scott Duncan of Duncan’s Creative Kitchens, 5765 Manatee Ave. W.
“I am here if the phone rings,” Duncan said, although he doubted that kitchen remodels would be high on the list for residents focused on cleaning up storm damage and making repairs.
Another nearby business, White Magnolia Salon, was removing storm shutters Monday.
Salon owner Amy Levengood said she hopes to reopen by Wednesday.
“We have electricity. The air seems to be running. So now its kind of getting everything back in place,” Levengood said.
John Horne, co-owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bar Restaurants in Manatee, lost power at all four restaurants. All their seafood and cooler products had to be tossed.
“We’ll get new product in and open as soon as we can,” Horne said. “Hope we can get deliveries mañana!” He updated his message at 4:55 p.m., saying power had just been restored at the Ellenton AMOB.
Aside from widespread damage to trees and landscaping, Irma seemed to cause minimal structural damage. Exceptions were the Blue Dolphin Car Wash on Cortez Road and the 7-Eleven at State Road 70 East and Caruso Road, which suffered damaged canopies.