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Hurricane, shmurricane…this market stays open

They never ran out of water, ice or all sizes of batteries.

And as chain retail and supermarkets reopen, Howard’s Market may have set the record. The gourmet deli and caterer has stayed open through hurricanes for decades.

It’s a family tradition. Their dad, the late Howard “Pops” Adkin Sr., installed a big generator to make his intentions clear.

“Our whole approach is, everything for the community,” said Barry Adkin. 

He took over with his brother Howard when they lost their celebrated father on July 5, 2010. So active in the community his funeral included a flyover, even his obituary said he stayed open during Wilma. So, he didn’t just leave them a business. He left them a hurricane legacy.

Location helps. Howard’s is in central Boca on 18th Street west of Military Trail. So it’s the only food store within walking distance if necessary. Longtime customers count on them to stay open. Even newbies know they’ll be there.

So once Dorian threatened, the Adkins’ stockpiled supplies and homecooked prepared food. And as locals searched for water, ice and batteries, they made sure they had trailers full. “We had everything, Our busiest day was Friday,” Barry said.

As a mom and pop, they have the advantage of making their own rules. “We have a staff willing to come to work. We stayed open a half-hour later than normal,” Barry said. Their normal is about 10 p.m.

But like any owners staring down online ordering and other competition, they consider the service a tacit agreement.

“We want the support [from customers] who appreciate the value of a community store,” he said.

That means shopping at Howard’s Market even when there’s no hurricane, he added.

Their dad, no doubt, would be proud.

By Marci Shatzman

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