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Two Gainesville bed and breakfasts put compassion over profit as Hurricane Irma approaches

Two Gainesville bed and breakfasts offered rooms to evacuees at a discounted rate. 

With everyone jockeying for water, gas and shelter the owners of two local bed and breakfasts are putting compassion over profit.

Both the Camelia Rose Inn and the Magnolia Plantation had dozens of rooms reserved for Florida's home opener this weekend, but with Hurricane Irma bearing down on the state they decided to call their customers to ask if they could have the rooms back.

“The first thing I did was call all my football people and ask if they were still coming," said Cindy Montalto, who owns Magnolia with her husband Jo.

"As the storm was getting larger, the phone was ringing off the hook," Camelia Rose Inn owner Pat McCant said. "Then I thought, this is going to change everything."

The customers agreed. Both businesses then turned around and offered those rooms to evacuees at a discounted rate.

"We're doing what I call anti-gouging," Cindy Montalto said. "We are lowering our rates to get them in here because these people are frightened, and they don't need to be gouged."

The lower rates come as many hotels are still offering their game-day rates.

“This is what I'm supposed to do," Montalto said. "I'm supposed to help people."

They told their new customers to bring flashlights, food and water in case the power goes out. But the owners said they're prepared.

"We've got three cases of wine so we are good to go!" Montalto said.

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