Port St. Lucie bait shop owner talks about White House trip

Port St. Lucie bait shop owner talks about White House trip (WPEC)

After 940 miles and days of travel, a Treasure Coast business owner can now say he has made history.

Bruce Hrobak, of Port St. Lucie, was invited by the Trump administration to speak about water quality at the White House in Washington D.C.

"We were like in an awe moment," said Hrobak, who was flanked by his 21-year-old son, Tanner Hrobak. "We were in a shocking moment. We realized that it was basically surreal."

On a national stage, Hrobak shared his story and shed light on the ongoing plight of toxic blue-green algae in South Florida.

He described 2016 as a tough year for his business, Billy's Bones Bait and Tackle Shop. He said it was challenging to stay afloat when algal blooms were at their worse.

"Thick, thick, thick algae, blue and green and just horrible," Hrobak said. "People were afraid to touch it and everything. It was dangerous to be quite honest with you."

Hrobak said he took a financial blow that year, losing 15 to 20 percent in revenue.

"A lot of our customers didn't want to fish so therefore we barely had any business," he said.

According to the 13-year business owner, money began to run dry and concerns for his future has washed up.

"You try your best. That's all you can do and you try to hang in there every day," Hrobak said.

Hrobak took his concerns to the biggest stage he could possibly imagine: the White House.

"Whatever I can do in my power to speak about our water, to speak about the quality and what's going on, I'm going to be here to do it."