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Cape Coral businesses working to reopen their doors

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Restaurants and businesses in Cape Coral are working on getting back up and running after Hurricane Ian.

Downtown Cape Coral was hit hard, and now business owners are determined to be there for the community.

Nakisha Camacho is doing her best to keep a smile on her face, but seeing her business, Hair Artistry, in the dark is tough.

Not being able to do what she loves is devastating.

“I cried my butt off so much that I got in a car accident three days ago and totaled my whole car,” said Camacho.

What brings Camacho joy is her business. She is proud to call herself a boss and has been running her salon for five years.

Being the boss requires her to stay strong, not just for her employees, but for her 9-year-old son Ivan.

“I’m a single mother I have to take care of him, and he can’t see me when I’m weak. I got to be strong at all times. But man, it’s draining,” said Camacho.

It’s draining because she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to open her salon again. The power is still out, and she fears it could be months before she can reopen.

“When you walk by here at night time, and I see my business shut down, and I’m coming here, and I’m sitting in the night just looking at it, hoping that one morning it’ll pop up,” Camacho said.

Camacho is trying to stay positive. “You can only fake it for so long. And after a while, that light starts to dim. But all I can do is pray and be thankful to still have what I do have.”

For 11 years, South Cape Diner was Felix Estivaine’s dream, and now, he is doing all he can to keep it alive.

Seeing his restaurant damaged after two feet of flood water came rushing in is a nightmare.

“All I do is try my best to make the best food I can make for the customer to be happy. But unfortunately, it seems like your dream actually. I’m not saying go to the toilet, but it seems I don’t even see a way out,” said Estivaine.

The diner is closed with tables and chairs clustered together under a tarp. Their usually bustling kitchen is deserted and in need of repair.

“We have to redo the whole kitchen. I have a freezer that costs 30,000 dollars its completely destroyed,” said Estivaine.

Downtown Cape Coral is usually a place of fun and excitement. Now, its a place of uncertainty for many businesses.

Duval Street had ceiling tiles fall off, forcing businesses to be outside only to keep people working.

“We put a lot of money into this place. Fixing it up and redoing it and just to see it all gone is just it was breathtaking a little bit, but you get emotional, but you just do what you can,” said Estivaine.

Camacho is asking what now?

“I’m at the stage do I walk away from something I worked so hard for and go into the studio. Then I have eight employees I have to worry about and their families they have to take care of,” said Camacho.

Estivaine isn’t giving up. “The dream can be beat up, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely out.” He knows the community will be there to help.