Threat of Hurricane Irma Has Florida Shoe Retailers Prepping for the Storm

As Houston continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Florida is readying for a possible hit by Hurricane Irma this weekend. So far, the impending storm has been strengthened to a Category 5, setting the wheels in motion for shoe retailers to begin prepping for the event.

While each has a plan in place,. from putting up hurricane shutters to backing up computer systems, several have already seen a dip in foot traffic as area residents head to supermarkets and home stores to stock up on supplies.

John Weingarten, co-owner of Shoe Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, is planning to close up shop if the hurriance reaches a Category 4 or 5. Otherwise, it’s business as usual until it is determined if the storm will indeed reach the city. “I’ll ride it out if it is a Category 1, 2 or 3, he said,” intending to put up hurricane shutters and back up the store’s computer system.

Deb Schuemann, co-owner of Village Bootery in Jupiter, said she expects business this week to be slow as residents brace for the hurricane. “People are home prepping, so it’s dead,” she said, noting that instead of shoe shopping, locals were heading to the grocery to stock up on household items and food. Schuemann said she and her family were going to sit tight until they heard more advisories, planning to wait until Thursday to start boarding up the store’s windows, a process she said doesn’t typically take long.

At Ella’s Shoes in Hollywood, store manager Adriana Ortiz agreed business is slow as area residents prepare for the storm.  “We’re waiting for the news to see if it’s close [to us],” she said, adding the store will be ready to closed if Irma hits the area. “We will know by Friday.”

Lily Cano, manager at Soles Inc. in Coconut Grove in Miami, who was helping out at the store’s Ft. Lauderdale location, said the retailer would be putting up shutters as well as placing sandbags in the event the storm does touch base in the area. However, she noted, the store was on standby until Wednesday or Thursday for more details.

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