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As reported in the USA, Dale Bailey, owner of DB’s Bait & Tackle, has seen his home and business destroyed by Hurricane Irma, the second time that’s happened in 13 years.

“I can handle it mentally better this time. It’s not as stressful this time,” Dale said, 11 days after the storm gutted DB’s at 640 South Orange Avenue in Bartow, and his adjacent home. “I would say Hurricane Charley was way worse.”

That’s not to say Irma was easy. When he stood before the wreckage on the morning of September 11th, the day after Irma passed… “I got very emotional. My life and work were in ruins.”

Dale doesn’t know whether he can rebuild DB’s at its Bartow location because he’s not sure whether he’ll get the financial assistance to do so.

The house and building were insured, but he still owes about $160,000 on the mortgage. Dale said he’ll also need an estimated $40,000 to clear the wreckage from the property. That’s not to mention the cost of rebuilding the home and business.

He has applied for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he said, and he hopes it will help with the cost of clearing the property.

“I can’t spend my insurance money on that (clearing) and still hope to rebuild,” Dale said. “If I get no help from FEMA on demolition, I don’t think I will rebuild.”

Hurricane Charley, one of three hurricanes that swept through Polk County in 2004, wiped out his previous landscaping business, Dale Bailey’s Environmental in Lake Wales. He moved to Bartow and operated that business briefly before opening DB’s in 2008.

A lifelong fisherman who competes in tournaments, he decided to open a new business doing something he loves.

“I liked it that I was very knowledgeable. I could answer people’s questions and help them,” he said. “I was comfortable. I wasn’t rich, but it was a good living.”

Orrin Parker, a neighbour and regular customer, appreciated his help and regretted that he may lose the business.

“He could tell you where to go to fish, what fishing bait worked best,” Orrin said. “I hate to see him go.”

Although he helped fishermen from novice to expert, DB’s catered to expert and competitive fishermen. It sold top-of-the-line equipment, such as Lew’s Fishing reels, Halo fishing rods and Daiwa rods and reels.

What Orrin said he liked most about DB’s is that, if it didn’t have the equipment you want, Dale could get it through his suppliers in just a couple days.

“If you said, ‘how soon can you get it?’ he had it in a couple days, not weeks,” Orrin said. “He made sure we all got what we needed when we needed it.”

His daughter, Brittany Grier, set up an account on the internet site for compassionate fundraising. The DB’s page can be reached at, and it features pictures of DB’s storm damage.

Picture courtesy The Ledger:

Author: Simon Calvert

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