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Omaha businessman who recently moved to Fort Myers loses everything as hurricane Ian makes landfall

RUDE Shrimp Co. closed up shop in Waterloo and moved to the gulf coast just last year
Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 28, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — You may remember the RUDE Shrimp Company in Waterloo. Earlier this year the owners closed the business here and moved it to Fort Myers, Florida. But Wednesday, his life changed.

Tuesday morning, T.J. Holzapfel and his wife packed up and traveled east to Fort Lauderdale. Leaving their home in Fort Myers and business behind.

"It's catastrophic. It's really bad and nobody is going to understand until this thing moves out," Holzapfel said.

Sitting in a hotel room T.J. heard from his neighbors, who were unable to get out, that a yacht had floated down their flooded street.

Their home isn't the only part of their lives affected.

"Watching the Weather Channel all day, which has been kind of surreal because the camera was actually — on the Weather Channel, was at the front of our restaurant, in the parking lot," Holzapfel said.

Wednesday afternoon, the camera caught the restaurant getting swept away by the storm surge.

"We got a text from somebody at the Lani Kai resort that said, 'Your restaurant is gone,'" Holzapfel said.

The business had only been open since March and they were looking forward to a busy full season.

"Things were going really well, very happy, and getting ready for a full season and now we just gotta figure out what the next steps are," Holzapfel said.

In the last few hours, T.J. and his wife have lost everything.

"This is seven miles. This is seven miles of devastation and people aren't going to realize it until the days to come," Holzapfel said.

But T.J. is staying positive and is happy to be alive.

"We'll figure it out, that's all we can do. We can just take one foot in front of the other and move forward," Holzapfel said.

With the restaurant gone, T.J. and his wife are unsure what exactly they will be walking back into at their home in Fort Myers, if anything.

They are now waiting to hear when they will be able to get back down to check it out.

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