Financially, it hasn't been much fun for hurricane-hit business owners Joseph Conway and Don Nguyen.
Yet through grit, determination and a side-order of patience, they're both fully back in the Marco mix.
Conway and Nguyen own Pinch-A-Penny Pool, Patio and Spa and Modern Nails & Spa respectively, and were among the hardest-hit of all Marco Island businesses when Wilma blasted through the area nine months ago.
The businesses abut each other at the Island Plaza on the east-facing side.
Conway remembers being confronted with a chaotic scene when he did his initial check on the business.
"We'd lost everything from the roof in," he said. "The air conditioning had dropped, there was five inches of standing water and we would eventually have to rip out all the walls because of mold and mildew."
Besides the frustration of his retail business coming to a full stop because he couldn't expose walk-in customers to the dangers of live electric wires and water, Conway had the added chore of taking care of pool owners.
"Our guys were working 18 to 20 hours a day for six months straight," Conway said. "A hurricane is a tragic thing, but everybody's first concern is for themselves. That's human nature."
Nevertheless, he said, his Marco clients were more than helpful by cleaning some of the debris from their pools and even volunteering to help him clear up the mess in the store.
Another frustration, Conway said, was being handcuffed by his insurance company.
"It took us nine months to be paid out, so everything we did was out of pocket," he said.
On the comparative plus side, Conway said he's learned a lot from enduring a hurricane, and that his new-look store was now actually better than before.
Nguyen had boarded up his salon windows before the hurricane, so was encouraged when he arrived afterwards to see the shutters were still in place.
"When we took them down, we could see the roof was messed up," he said. "There was also a lot of water damage."
Undaunted, Nguyen found temporary premises at the same plaza, at the same time working long hours to refurbish the salon.
Now, with the salon almost back in perfect shape, Nguyen says it's something of a bittersweet outcome.
"It was expensive. We hope to recoup our lost money in about another year because of our good local customer base," he said.
Customer Angie Brown was more than pleased the salon is now back on its feet.
"It's warm and welcoming," she said. "I would compare it with any other spa on the island."