6 Month Hurricane Irma Update

Here we are after 6 months after taking this opportunity to wish you a happy spring and summer and to update you on Pusser’s in the BVI.

Hurricane Irma set us back quite a bit, but we’re not down and out, to the contrary, Pusser’s is coming back at a steady pace.

Here’s what happened:

First, the winds unofficially had to be of a world record class. A couple of days after the storm had torn through, I had a conversation with the senior military aviator controlling the Airborne traffic. When the winds hit the BVI, they were steady at 200 miles per hour, and remained at the velocity for 8 hours, excluding the short duration of about 30 minutes when the eye passed directly over Tortola Gusts were up to 285 miles per hour, and tornadoes were buried inside some of the gusts creating winds as high 365 miles per hour! The width of the storm was narrow, but highly focused and well organized around the eye. While Saint Thomas and Puerto Rico were badly hit, their devastation was nothing compared to that of the BVI. More than 2,000 yachts were sunk or damaged beyond repair; automobiles were picked up and thrown through the air like toys. Estimates are that 80% or more vehicles suffered damage. At West End (see photo) a 60-ft catamaran was picked up and dropped, upright, on roof of a building alongside the marina!

Our Pusser’s Marina Cay was greatly damaged. The new dock went completely, along with our RED BOX – the Victorian telephone booth that sat on the north end of the dock – where many of you had your photo taken. (By the way, those photos can still be found – Click Here to access the RED BOX images). The docks pilings were spared, but every board on the main dock and the dinghy dock is gone.

All that remains of the restaurant is the floor, the rest rooms, and a few concrete walls – and, surprisingly, the wide, wooden staircase leading from the sandy beach to the restaurant’s floor.

Some of you may remember that the Pusser’s Co. Store stood on pilings over the seabed. I used to think it was the prettiest little store in the Caribbean. Well, it’s gone; and most everything in it, broken up, and swept out to sea. Up on the top of the hill, the manager’s house was totaled. The 4 single hotel rooms standing on the bluff overlooking the reef at the east end of the island, were just about totaled. They all lost their roofs, and looking down into them from above is like looking into a beaten-up child’s doll house.

Having finished cleanup, we’re now into the first phases of the reconstruction. The future for Marina Cay will be good because the place is so naturally beautiful. The cleanup was a massive job. It took about 50 people more than 2 weeks, and barge load after barge load to haul away the huge amount of flotsam and jetsam that was strewn everywhere. And we located the old Red Box lying buried on the seabed, but at quite a distance from the dock. It’s solid cast iron, and must weigh at least 1500 pounds. We can’t figure out how it came to rest where it did. Soon, we will raise it, and place it back on the dock where it belongs as soon as the dock is finished. Shortly, we will also open a small restaurant in the patio that was outside of the store. Concurrently, we plan to open a small Pusser’s Co. Store in the Robb White House on the summit All that building needs is a new roof that will be completed in March.

In Roadtown, our Pusser’s Pub and Co. Store were heavily damaged. However, by the end of the third day, we had setup voluntarily up a makeshift kitchen that eventually produced 25,000 meals for those unfortunates forced into shelters. This building was two floors. The upper floor was dedicated completely to the store, as was the bottom half of the first floor directly under it. The roof was blown off the building, and everything in it was destroyed; not a single piece of furniture, fixture or ship model survived. But the first floor fared better. The first floor with the store on the main street end, and the Pusser’s Pub on the seaside. Fortunately, the first floor interior was relatively unscathed. Consequently, we were able to open within two weeks with a fully operational bar and kitchen. We’re proud of the fact that we were the first place to re-open in Roadtown.

We have a web cam inside the Pub now!   Take a look here . . . nothing’s changed!

As for our Roadtown Store: before the hurricane hit, we fortunately moved all of the merchandise from both floors into a safe location – that survived. Consequently, we’ve been able to open the store that still has a good selection of our line. We estimate that the 2nd floor of the store will not be open for another 4 or 5 months.

The Pusser’s Landing at Soper’s Hole, West End, was almost completely wiped out as was the marina and most all the docks. As some of you may recall, we had two locations here: one on the deck on the water for casual dining, and another on the second floor over the store for a more complete menu. The Pusser’s Co. Store here survived, but was looted badly. Nothing was left in the store other than the fixtures. While we’ve managed to open a small F&B operation in the second floor in a small area under a part of the roof that didn’t blow off. We’re serving simple food and drink, and unfortunately, don’t see this area and our place reopening for at least another 5 or 6 months.

We have a Pusser’s Co. Store at Leverick Bay on Gorda Sound. The store there is tucked under a restaurant above and thus escaped serious structural damage.

UPDATE: The Pusser’s Co. Store in Leverick Bay is now OPEN for business! We do not however have phone service at the location, but that should be available soon.

Unfortunately, about $2.5 million of our inventory was lost in the stores and our warehouse. Most of the warehouse was destroyed: half of the roof was blown away, sides were torn off, and the large roller doors on the front, torn off leaving the place open to the vulture-like looters to take what remained. Ironically, we were scheduled to ship our Christmas merchandise to the fulfillment house in Florida two days before Irma hit us. Tropical shipping cancelled their scheduled voyage, which left us with a fully loaded container sitting on the hard outside of our warehouse. In past hurricanes, we’d seen containers blown over and holed while our warehouse always held together. Consequently, we decided to empty the container and move all of its Christmas destined contents back into the warehouse. In hindsight, it may have been a mistake as most everything in the warehouse was lost. But then, containers were picked up like toys and thrown about and badly smashed everywhere. Who knows?

Presently, we are working like hell to get our website up again and will be able to offer a limited number of products that we were able to squirrel away in the BVI before the storm hit. For example, all of the merchandise at our Marina Cay store was securely packed and stowed out of the store before the hurricane hit. Thus we were able to save most of the product that was there. We’re just now shipping all of this to our fulfillment house in Florida. As soon as the redesign and editing of our website is completed, we will finally be able to offer these items, along with some new of our men’s and women’s apparel designs that have just arrived.

Remember: We are not what everyone else has. We are not mainstream. Our line is eclectic, with focus on function and comfort, not fashion. Our craftsmanship and quality unequalled at our price point.