Aug 27, 2004
Hurricane Charley Hits Close to HomeSource: Various

Hurricane Charley may be a distant memory for many of the people in the United States but it is still very fresh in the minds of the people in Florida, especially the people that lost their homes and/or businesses in the process.

In the horrible hurricane that took place August 13, 2004, Sun Bulb Co, Arcadia, Fla. took a beating that just kept on coming. According to an article from the Associated Press (AP) Hurricane Charley took the roofs off more than 20 of the 40 greenhouses where Sun Bulb Co. owners and brothers Rodney and Tom Hollingsworth grew orchids for a number of the big box stores in Florida. However, surprisingly enough the storm damage was not the only main concern.

During the days after the hurricane, the weather was very hot and humid causing extra problems when it came to clean up. According to the AP the sun was drying out exposed plants and wilting the buds. According to the Herald Times, the plants that survived, the Hollingsworth’s suspect, will die very soon under the sun with no water and inadequate ventilation. “The storm will amount to millions in lost sales, Rodney Hollingworth said. He’s hoping the business can rebound by selling bulbs and gardening materials,” said the Herald Times. AP also stated that the Hollingsworth’s estimate that Sun Bulb Co. could lose as much as 90 percent of its $1 million crop. “Try as they might, the Hollingsworth’s say walking away from the third-generation family business simply isn’t an option. For now, they’re hoping and waiting for relief,” said the Herald Times.

“State agriculture officials say the storm devastated Florida’s $10 million ornamental industry. The nurseries grow and ship tropical foliage to Wal-Marts, Home Depots, Kmarts and other retailers across the country,” according to an article in the Herald Times.

The Florida orange industry was hit very badly, causing a number of concerns all over the country as to what is going to happen next with the orange supply. According to the AP , “Agriculture is big business in Florida, second only to tourism.” Last year alone Florida ranked ninth nationally with about $7 billion in agriculture sales, said the AP , and the industry contributed about $62 billion to the state economy, state Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said in the AP story. Currently Florida is the United States top producer of oranges and only behind Brazil in the largest producer in the world.

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