PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Wilson Brothers Barber Shop has been around in Panama City since 1946. It’s a local, family-run business that’s stood the test of time and survived Hurricane Michael.
Owner Jonathan Wilson evacuated to Tallahassee during the storm. Watching live news coverage of his hometown washing away, he was anxious to return to find what was left of his store.
“I was wondering about my home, wondering about my business. And I watched them on TV at that time. The national news was covering things. Looking on TV and seeing all the buildings coming down and all of the devastation all over the city,” he said. “Well, as I said, I was away and I couldn’t get back in here because they wasn’t letting anybody back. But as soon as I could get back into the city, I came home. It was it was just devastating.”
As a barber, Wilson says he’s listened to many of his clients’ personal accounts of recovery since the storm, most held up by one similar obstacle.
“It’s been reported to me that a lot of people have been ripped off by contractors,” he said. “Some have taken their money and came and done a lot of little work and then they left town and never heard from again, this sort of thing.”
Wilson formerly served 23 years as the city commissioner of Panama City, and he acknowledges the progress the city has made in recovering.
“All the debris, all of the old landmarks were gone, no power, no water,” he said. “But I think the city did a good job on getting all the debris moved, all of the buildings and all this sort of thing clear up. I think they’ve done a great job. It didn’t take as long as I expected to take but there yet a lot to be done. And they are continuing working at it.”