Pinellas Co. businesses struggle with little fuel, no power

Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 12, 2017

Businesses in Tampa Bay are hitting a major roadblock. Like many of us, they can’t find fuel!

Chris Palms of Majestic Plumbing and Rick Sirois of Clearview Lawn and Landscaping have never been this busy. 

“We’ve been going since 3 his morning," Palms enthusiastically said as he tried to repair a water pipe busted by a fallen tree. “My customers have been calling non stop saying 'no hurry but we need you right now.'”

It’s tough to get the job done, when you don’t have the most important tool: gas!

“You go by all these stations that have nothing. The ones that do have it, have a huge line,” Sirois explained. The longer he waits at the pump, the fewer trees he can haul out of people’s pools and off their roofs, “Everything I do runs on gas. Mowers, chainsaws, blowers, all of it and the vehicle.”

Palms wasn’t taking any chances. As soon as he heard about Hurricane Irma he stocked up with 50 gallons of gas and 3 generators.  “I’ll have generators for sale after the hurricane," he joked.

Both small businessmen, among the thousands of us, watching our fuel levels very carefully and not wasting a single drop.

Meanwhile, other businesses are struggling to get by without power. Nearly 70% of Pinellas County had powered knocked out from the hurricane. 

CJ Murray’s business is without power in Largo, and she’s been on the hunt for a generator for hours!! “I started early this morning and they already loaned the generators to other people," she said exasperated.

It’s pitch dark in the salon distribution center where she works and there’s no ordering, wrapping, or shipping work to be done. 

Murray, who works at Center for Beauty All About Feet, and shares a building with Life of Riley Salon Supply has reached out to everyone she knows in Pinellas County to find a generator. 
They finally found one but, “we drove all the way to Tarpon Springs from Largo and it’s too small for the server.”

Now, they’re borrowing another generator but they have to have it back within a few hours. 

“A lot of people are without work until they get this business up and running so it’s pretty scary.”

Many businesses tonight are losing money and hoping the lights to come back on soon.