The only food store on Green Turtle Cay, which was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, was continuing repairs to its front door on Friday. And while Sid’s Groceries now has food products on its some of its shelves, others are bare and both of the building’s windows are still secured by plywood.
Part-owner of Sids Groceries Scott Lowe told the media Friday that he and his sister – who is the other owner – were fortunate that they were able to get back to business in the time that they did, thanks to help and supplies from volunteers who replaced the roof on the establishment.
Lowe, choking back tears, said he and his sister were not looking for the help, but it came thanks to a phone call.
“I have a daughter who lives in North Carolina and someone contacted her and a group out of Jacksonville, Florida came down and offered to put a new metal roof on for us,” he said.
“They went back home, they brought engineers down, they surveyed the building, they came back with plans to put a new metal roof on and a team of eleven men came down several months later.
“They shipped the material ahead of time, they shipped a container with everything they needed, tools, living equipment while they weee here and from Saturday midday until the following Friday they put the new roof on for us, as well as they replaced ceiling tiles, they replaced our florescent lighting with LED lights, they painted the exterior of the building.
“But of course you can see we’re still having to do windows and doors and redo the interior.”
Lowe said they were grateful for the help from volunteers and explained that they recently received their insurance money for the storm damage.
He said while that money would have eventually gotten them to the point of reopening the store, labor remains an issue for those looking to rebuild and the transportation of building supplies and the store’s products has been troublesome.
“Even though we would have eventually had the insurance money, labor is a problem on the island and getting material here has been a problem,” Lowe said.
“While material has come in, sometimes it’s been delayed two months.”
He said he has has a shipment of soda that was turned back from being shipped twice because of the demands on the shipping company.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) has introduced the Sand Dollar, The Bahamas’ digital currency, to the Abacos and Sid’s is now accepting the novel fiat currency as payment.
Lowe had several Sand Dollar transactions on Friday, including a purchase of products by Deputy Prime Minister Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest and CBOB Governor John Rolle.
Lowe said while the Sand Dollar system will not likely have many transactions in the short term, he said he sees the long-term benefits of the system, especially now that Hurricane Dorian has made banking on Abaco much more difficult.
“The more people that sign up it will be successful,” said Lowe.
“When they get tied into the commercial banks, I do see it making life easier for me to be able to transfer from my wallet to a supplier in Nassau, or to my bank account in Nassau.”
Lowe, who rode out the storm on Green Turtle Cay, still has much more to do to get Sid’s back to its former glory.
He said he is concentrating only on food for now.
The former souvenir section of the store sits barren as Abaconians wait to see when their tourism business will return.