PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — After a tornado ripped the roof off of Blu Convenience Store and Deli in April, owners Tom and Sara Pulatov were at a stand-still.
“It just came out of nowhere and just happened. It’s just a terrifying moment,” said Tom Pulatov.
With the overwhelming amount of community support and a building up for lease next door, the couple knew what they wanted to do next.
“We decided to clean this place, you know, fix everything that needed work. We fixed it up and kind of set it up to the store and kept things going,” said Pulatov.
However the owners aren’t ready to give up on their former, much bigger space.
“We really want to move back in,” the owner said.
The community wants it for them just as bad. This is why they had set up a surprise fundraiser.
“They do have a team and we’re a part of that team to help get it up and coming again,” said Patty Hester, one of the area’s residents.
Hester is one of many locals who showed up to make a purchase or give a donation.
“The building that was there had been there pre- blue convenience but they came and went… these two are here to stay,” said Hester.
Whether it be the Pulatovs’ friendly smiles or their wide variety of products, many customers that enter Blu Convenience Store and Deli become regulars.
The Pulatovs are hopeful to move back into their old place by Christmas.