OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Kenny Dinero owns Ocean Springs Marine Mart. His dog, Pirate, is always by his side. Customers joke that black lab Pirate was a white lab before the spill.
What happened after the spill is no laughing matter for Dinero.
"Well, it just about shut down. The reason is, they started closing parts of the Gulf, and when they did that, that means that that catfish that I just had there wasn't being sold, because people weren't able to go Cobia fishing, because that area was closed up," Dinero explained.
Are things better these days?
"It's not as good as it was before the spill, I don't think. There are still people that are afraid to eat seafood," Dinero said.
At Ocean Marine, business sank quickly in the days after the spill. How bad was it? Keith King is the boat dealership owner.
"It was horrible. Right after the spill was announced, we had no boat buyers for probably three straight months. There was nothing, no activity in the store whatsoever," King recalled.
It got so bad, King said the dealership almost went under.
"I used all of my cash reserves, all of my lines of credit, everything to try and stay open," said King.
In the summer of 2010, at the height of the BP oil spill, both of the business owners filed claims with BP, trying to recoup their losses. How did that claims process go? Let's just say it was completely different for the two gentlemen.
Dinero put it this way.
"You've got to keep up with your paperwork. They seem to lose a lot of the paperwork. It's like a cat and mouse game. Personally, I have not received anything," said Dinero.
King had a different experience.
"With the periodic payments, we stayed solvent. At the end of the day, when the final claim was settled, BP made me whole as to what my average business would have been over that period of time," King said.
Still, both business owners say it could be years before everything is completely back to normal.
Meanwhile, the claims process is continuing with a deadline to file later this summer. To date, BP has paid out more than $5 billion in damage claims.