(SAVANNAH) Hurricane Matthew has changed the landscape of restaurants in downtown Savannah. WSAV has confirmed that the Outback Steak House on Bay and Drayton Streets has closed due to storm damage. Elizabeth Watts, Director of Media and Community Relations says, “After assessing the condition of our downtown Savannah restaurant following the storm, we made the difficult decision not to reopen.” said Watts via email. Watts response to the question about whether another downtown location for the popular steakhouse will open. “We are always evaluating opportunities for new restaurants, but do not have plans for another location at this time. The Savannah Outback on Abercorn Street will remain open and we invite guests to visit us at this location.” Watts wrote.
The closure due to the storm is sad news for some in the restaurant business, like Stephen Hamile, General Manager of the Collins Quarter, “It’s devastating to see any businesses go under…no matter what they would have done.” Hamile said. The Collins Quarter is one of more than three hundred small businesses in the Downtown Savannah Business Association. President, Karen Guinn, shares how the SDBA members weathered the storm. “We haven’t heard of any members that are suffering permanent damage or closing because of the storm, but we’re definitely staying in constant communication, because we do feel like, now that the storm is gone, people are trying to navigate through those insurance clams, um, we do anticipate that we’ll see a few more bumps in the road before we are 100-percent back on our feet.” said Guinn.
Small businesses will have to get back on their feet without assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA’s website says the agency does not offer assistance for small businesses impacted by a disaster, but help is available through the small business administration, which offers low interest loans for business damages. businesses like The Collins Quarter, who weathered the storm, feel lucky to have survived Matthew. “We feel blessed with, with what little damage we had.” Hamile said.
Small Business Administration
Savannah Downtown Business Association