To escape Hurricane Frances, Floridans like Barbara Prest and Mary Lewis unexpectedly poured a lot of money into Alabama's economy on things like shopping, food, gas and hotel rooms. Prest adds, "We're staying right down the road at the Governor's House. And almost everyone is from Florida staying there." Governor's House Hotel General Manager Tim Banks says, "That means a lot of revenue for us." Banks says his hotel possibly rented out 175 rooms.
Even at a Tri-County area Lowes Store, Manager Kevin Hughes says sales are good because Floridans are spending their money in Montgomery. Lowes officials say those extra sales translate into greater than expected Labor Day profits. Hughes says people from Florida are buying many things like, bottled water, coolers, batteries and flashlights. "Anything they can use once they get back down to Florida," says Hughes.
Getting back to Florida is the primary concern for Prest and Lewis. Prest and Lewis joke they're going to have a hard time getting home because Frances is following them. Prest adds, "You can't get away." Area retailers are grateful Floridans got away from the storm, and spent money in Alabama.