Lorraine Hughey's Ormond Boat Shack might be small, but she's hoping it'll soon become part of the community.
In the past, Ormond Beach resident Lorraine Hughey used to drive past the commercial plaza on 600 S. Yonge St. without giving it a second glance.
“I used to drive by here and never even think it was anything," Hughey said.
That has now changed. The plaza is undergoing a total renovation by local realtor Scott Fredericks, drawing in small businesses owners to set up shop in the various storefronts. Hughey's store, Ormond Boat Shack, is one of the 17 businesses currently open in the plaza, though there is room for more than 30.
Hughey decided to open Ormond Boat Shack due to her love of boating and experience in the industry. Before moving to Ormond, she worked as a manager of a boat store in Jacksonville for 10 years. When she made Ormond Beach her new home, she saw a need for a new boat supply store in town.
Fredericks was her realtor when she bought a home, and he told her about the plaza he was renovating. Hughey has experience in commercial painting as well, so she helped turn the slightly run-down white plaza into the cheery blue square it is today.
Fredericks said he saw a business opportunity with the plaza and that it "needed some love." Part of his vision for the space on Yonge Street is for it to have a warm community feel and that businesses would feed off each other by bringing in customers to multiple stores in one visit.
“We thought if we could come in, and make the place nice, and keep it affordable for people, it’ll help people come in and just help everyone all the way around," Fredericks said.
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma scared Hughey for a while though. She opened her boat store on Aug. 1, and was still getting things going when the storm hit.
“It was a rough week for everybody," Hughey said.
She was without electricity for about five days in her home, and three in the store. Hughey said she sat for almost five days at Ormond Boat Shack without a single customer coming in.
Things are starting to look up though. More people are coming in to the store and Hughey tries her best to help them with their boating needs — even staying open on Sundays and all holidays.
“I think I’m going to do okay," Hughey said. "I really do. I have faith — a lot of faith.”