Hurricane Michael is expected to head for Florida’s Panhandle by midweek, but shoe stores in the area are staying open–for the time being.
Footwear retailers in the Panhandle told FN that, for now, they do not plan to close their doors ahead of the storm. Instead, they plan to monitor news about the storm’s path and intensity and make their decisions as the storm approaches and they have more information.
Mary Hardy, co-owner of Sunset Shoes Birkenstock in Panama City, Florida, said she expects foot traffic to be down if the storm hits, because residents will be out shopping for storm supplies such as water and gas. “Some will be getting out of town,” she added. Hardy, who lived through a major storm several years ago in the area, said if conditions become hazardous, she plans to close the store.
In Destin, Florida, Gary Holmes, owner of Shoe Salon, is taking a wait-and-see approach, noting the storm is not expected to reach his area until Wednesday — if at all. As of press time, he was still undecided whether his store would be closing. “It’s a coin toss,” he said.
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Holmes added that while shopping centers often close in anticipation of such weather events, grocery stores will remain open as long as possible so that locals can stock up on supplies. “For now, I would say people are looking at caution.”
At The Shoe Box in Tallahassee, Florida, buyer Janine Harris said current plans are to remain open. “But right now we’re waiting it out,” she said. ”If we don’t have power, we will be closed, and if employees can’t get to work we will be closed.”
In Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Janice McIntosh, a sales associate at Boca Boutique and Galeri, said, ”Right now, we’re going to play it by ear … we have experienced [this] before.”
This morning, however, tourists to the area, who decided to head out before the weather changed, visited the store. “They said they had planned to stay longer but think the hurricane is going to do a lot of damage. Some have never been through one, so they decided they would go home.”
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