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‘It’s disheartening’: Englewood family business of 32 years destroyed by Hurricane Ian

The Steinfath family is known for their hard work at their business A-1 Collision and Glass of Englewood.

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — Driving down Placida Road in Englewood, the damage from Hurricane Ian progressively gets worse with fences knocked down and business signs strewn about parking lots. 

Further down the road, it's hard to miss the huge pile of sheet metal on top of several damaged cars and blown-out windows that just a few days ago was A-1 Collision & Glass of Englewood.

“[We're] still trying to digest it, but it’s a lot to process,” auto shop owners Corey and Susan Steinfath said.

Thirty-two years of hard work were torn apart throughout the lot of land. The surrounding neighborhood is filled with small homes crushed by the devastating winds of the storm.

The Steinfaths are known for passing the business on from generation to generation. After opening more than three decades ago, Corey and Susan Steinfath quickly took over the family business. They’ve been running it for years leading up to October.

Their son, Nick Steinfath, has worked at the business for 11 years. He was set to take over soon, but now, there isn’t anything left of which to take ownership.

“Our family put a lot of time and money into this business and industry trying to give back a lot to the community,” Nick said. “It’s really, really disheartening to see it like this.”

Glass is shattered across the front patio as sheets of metal hang by a thread on the rooftop. Nick’s brother, Jake Steinfath, who came back to Florida a year ago after living in Virginia Beach with his wife, said they couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the damage.

“My brother and I were the first ones to get there,” Jake explained. “We roll around the corner and you start seeing sheet metal stuck to the church, the trees, up and down the street and we finally see the shop.”

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Susan said she was diagnosed with cancer just last year. The community came together during her time of need and she has no doubt they will all come together once again to help recover the business.

Susan also said she is still helping customers who are rolling up for assistance, even with their entire business torn apart.

“Even though we’re like down, customers are still coming here wanting us to help them,” she said.

In addition to the damage, the Steinfath brothers said they heard back from the insurance company that they cannot get coverage for the wind damage because of how old the building is. Now, they have to pay out of pocket to bring their business back to life.

Despite the big challenges ahead, the Steinfath family said they believe they will one day open again to the community that has supported them for 32 years.

“I honestly believe there’s a lot of good people out there who want us here and will do anything to help us stay,” Jake said.

The Steinfath brothers said they showed up to the business less than 24 hours after the hurricane hit.

There were missing several tool kits and welders, which the family believes may have been stolen from the property.

The family was able to salvage some vehicles from inside the building, but a handful of cars in the lot are dented and the glass was cracked from falling debris.

A family member started a GoFundMe Page for the family to help recover what’s left of the business and hopefully start a new chapter.    

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