Carolina Beach businesses fight back from hurricane’s wrath

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Crews working on damaged building on Carolina Beach Boardwalk on April 16, 2019. (Photo: WWAY)

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — This week is spring break for many public schools in North Carolina. As families flood into Carolina Beach to soak up the sun, some businesses are still dealing with a different type of flood.

The weather was beautiful on Pleasure Island Tuesday. People were lounging on the beach, throwing frisbees, walking on the boardwalk with ice cream cones and enjoying the the warm spring sun, but things are still very bleak for some business owners.

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More than seven months after Hurricane Florence hit our area some of us may not realize the lasting impact it had.

Jeff Hogan opened Celtic Creamery last May. He planned to stay open over the winter, but the storm had other plans. After months of renovations, he finally reopened last Friiday.

“We had a roof that failed, and so the 28 inches of Florence’s rain came through the building instead of around it,” Hogan said. “It’s been tough. The insurance company has probably been the toughest part. Just trying to deal with them and obviously trying to get workers, because everybody in Wilmington had a need for construction-type workers.”

Several businesses, including the Savannah Inn, are still closed with damage. Some are making repairs, while others seem to have given up.

Savannah Inn Owner Susan Riggs says recovering after this storm has been a nightmare.

“If we can’t at least get 50 percent of the property rolling, it’s just going to impact my season,” Riggs said. “Every day I lose money. Until the business interruption insurance comes through, and that seems like it’s dragging on forever, I need to get revenue. I need to get a revenue stream coming in. I’ve got to get at least this building up and running.”

Riggs says she hopes to have about 50 percent of her rooms open by Memorial Day.

If you decide to visit the island, remember parking fees are in effect from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Carolina Beach.