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#SanMarcoStrong Fundraiser: Business Owners Help Neighbors Flooded By Hurricane Irma

As many businesses remain shut after Hurricane Irma flooded Jacksonville neighborhoods, their neighbors are stepping up to offer a portion of their sales to help them recover, now through the end of this month.

In San Marco, Cindy Platt runs Grease Rags Clothing and Razed Right Barber Shop. She said she arrived the day after the storm to find her store had taken on 2-and-a-half feet of water.

Grease Rags interior
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News
Grease Rags Clothing is being repaired after taking on 2-and-a-half feet of flood water during Hurricane Irma. Still, owner Cindy Platt said, "We got lucky."

“You could see the river cresting. You could see the waves,” she said. “And then I saw a rescue boat drive down San Marco Boulevard, and I thought, ‘Well, it was nice while it lasted, Grease Rags.’”

Platt says her shops could be closed for repairs for another month, but her clothes mostly survived because she raised the adjustable racks to their highest height and weighted them to prevent rushing water from tipping them over. She said a couple of shops in Murray Hill are making space for her to sell clothes for now.

She’s refusing to take any of the money raised in the fundraiser. Instead, she said, “It needs to go to people who lost their merchandise or food from their restaurants or whatever. We got lucky. We really did.”

And through Oct. 1, hers is one of the businesses giving part of their earnings to the #SanMarcoStrong fund to help less fortunate business owners, as well as neighborhood families who lost everything.

A list of businesses participating can be found here.

Donations can also be made to the San Marco Preservation office at 1468 Hendricks Ave. The Preservation said it’s working the Red Cross, FEMA, the San Marco Merchants Association, area churches, and others to get an accurate, updated, and verified list of affected residents and businesses.

Meanwhile, Riverside’s Memorial Park Association has established a similar fund to support the cleanup of Memorial Park, which was badly damaged by river surge during Hurricane Irma. Donations may be made at

Any additional funds will support ongoing park maintenance, beautification and improvement projects.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP