Alex and Chelsea Workman are making sure this part of the coast is not easily forgotten.
The Workmans, and the non-profit they founded, announced this week the awarding of 11 more micro-grants to Mexico Beach businesses.
The $1,000 grants, distributed via the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association, are aimed at helping small businesses in Mexico Beach return to normal operations after Hurricane Michael ravaged the city on Oct. 10.
Chelsea’s father was in the charter fishing business in Mexico Beach and the couple co-founded Never Forgotten Coast, seeking to tell the stories of survival and rebuilding while also raising funds to assist in the restoration effort.
The Workmans, Alex said, believed that helping the small businesses would have a compounding impact on the rebuild of the city.
That assistance continued this week when Never Forgotten Coast, in partnership with the MBARA, put $11,000 more into the local business sector.
To date, they have distributed some $20,000 in grant funds.
From the outset of the grant process, the Workmans were seeking to assist in the smaller items requisite for businesses to resume operations.
Receiving grants were:
• Sol Siesta, funds will be used to help rebuild the rental home.
• Absolute Serenity, funds will help replace items not covered by insurance at the rental home.
• Eric Sigmon Studio LLC, funds will help replace supplies and other items not covered by insurance.
• No Worries Vacation Rentals LLC, funds will be used to rebuild the business and for tourism marketing.
• White Sands Salon and Boutique, funds will be used to help repair damage to allow the business to reopen.
• Caribbean Coffee LLC, funds will be used to help repair damage while insurance is pending.
• 98 Real Estate Group, funds will help during remodel.
• Mexico Beach Storage LLC, funds will help the business reopen.
• Mexico Beach Sundance Realty, funds will be used to help get more properties ready to rent, to accommodate residents who need a place to stay temporarily.
• Big Time Charters, funds will help move the boat off the dock to a boatyard for repairs.
• No Worries Beach Service LLC, funds will be used to replace buildings and beach rental equipment.
“Businesses in Mexico Beach are starting to get up and running again, and we’re excited to see how these grants will help that recovery continue,” Alex Workman said. “The road to recovery is long but they are making incredible strides, and we are honored to continue to help share their stories and partner with them to keep rebuilding.”
Those stories are the DNA of Never Forgotten Coast, told through the photos of award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart and the Workmans, a creative team.
Spending three days in Mexico Beach shortly after the storm, the group, along with a Tallahassee-based drone pilot, recorded and photographed the stories of residents, their losses and their determination to rebuild.
“I think with only one exception, people were just determined that they were coming back,” Alex Workman said. “And even that one exception, they just weren’t sure because they were close to retirement.”
Those stories can be found at neverforgottencoast.com and funds were raised by selling t-shirts, bracelets and badges.
Those funds became the micro-grant program, which is being handled through fiscal agent the MBARA.
To date, Never Forgotten Coast has awarded 20 grants.
Businesses interested in applying for a micro-grant may do so at www.neverforgottencoast.com/microgrant/.