Repairs underway at West Coast Surf Shop

West Coast Surf Shop fire
Repairs to the West Coast Surf Shop are currently underway with the hopes of the store reopening within three to six months after an April 15 electrical fire. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – Jim and Ronee Brady are already speeding down the road to recovery after an April 15 electrical fire devastated their business at the West Coast Surf Shop.

And now, the community is reaching out a helping hand.

As of April 23, a GoFundMe page began by Janae Rudacille has collected more than $7,000 to help rebuild the oldest surf shop on Florida’s Gulf Coast and help both the owners and staff members recover from the tragedy. The fundraiser’s goal is listed as $75,000.

The store, opened by Jim Brady in 1964, has become iconic on Anna Maria Island. When a transformer on a neon sign malfunctioned, it started an electrical fire that damaged the exterior of the building, the second floor, attic space, and destroyed the Bradys’ merchandise stock.

West Manatee Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Ben Rigney said though the fire was put out within a matter of minutes, damage to the building is estimated at $250,000. The quick response of the store’s staff and firefighters meant no injuries were reported, and the fire was put out with minimal damage to the structure.

Jim Brady said he and his wife hope to have the surf shop repaired and up and running in three to six months.

WMFR commissioners agreed unanimously to invite the store’s staff working at the time of the fire to the May commission meeting for a presentation of an award for their quick response and bravery in the situation. During the fire, two store clerks escorted an estimated 30 patrons safely out of the burning building.

“The staff was very proactive,” WMFR Chief Tom Sousa said.

Though Rudacille notes on the fundraiser page that the Bradys have insurance, she said her goal is to give the community a way to rally around the business owners and help support them with unexpected expenses and lost income that insurance may not cover.

Donate to the fundraising campaign.

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