Long Beach Businesses Get A Financial Boost From Florida - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach Businesses Get A Financial Boost From Florida

Long Beach took a hard financial hit from Hurricane Katrina, so donations are vital to the community's recovery.

For months, residents of Punta Gorda, Florida have been raising money to help out the city. Tuesday night, some Long Beach residents reaped the benefits of their generous efforts.

Since L. Montella Salon reopened two months ago, customers have been filing in to spruce themselves up.

Salon owner Lynne Montella wants to dress up the outward appearance of the salon by working on the landscape. Now, she can afford to do just that, thanks to a $1,000 grant she received from the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Community Foundation, also in Florida.

"You get your insurance, and you think, 'Yeah, I can do plenty with this.' Naturally, the rising cost of materials, at this point you're digging in your pockets, trying to make ends meet, to do structure. Then you run into landscaping, signage, all the stuff that isn't covered under your insurance. But Amen for the people who have helped us, because that's a huge help," Montella said.

The salon was one of 14 Long Beach businesses to receive a $1,000 check.

"When Katrina hit, all of us in Punta Gorda, Florida that had been hit by Charley just the year before, really felt the pain of all the businesses here."

Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie says getting small businesses like these fully up and running again is critical to the entire city's economic recovery.

"I think that's just like if you're building a house - for a full foundation, you put each two by four and frame it up. It's all part of the one, whole finished product. That's all part of our community recovery is small businesses," Mayor Skellie said.

By Toni Miles

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