On top of the loss of life and extensive damage to people’s homes, Hurricane Florence is hitting one of North Carolina’s biggest industries hard.
Agriculture and agribusiness has brought in $76 billion to the state’s economy and provides hundreds of thousands of jobs. But those numbers could look different post-Florence. “We’re doing probably about 10% of what our normal sales would be since we opened back up on Tuesday,” said Genell Pridgen.
Genell is the owner of Whiskey Pig, a butcher and deli shop in Kinston. Ever since the storm hit, she’s had to send employees home because of the drop in business.
“It really kind of looks bare in here now compared to what it usually is. It’s usually full meat cases, we have all different kind of cheeses in here, we’d had pastrami and mortadella.”
The store is stocked with products that come from Genell’s family farm, which she says didn’t suffer as badly as others across the state. But there’s still damage, and not just from Florence.
Genell’s parents, Jeff and Sandra Garner, are still preoccupied with rebuilding up from Hurricane Matthew, which occurred in 2016.
“It’s been three years and we still haven’t received our money that we invested back. We’re only going to get about 75% of coverage on the loss and so we still haven’t received a dime,” said Jeff Garner of Rainbow Meadow Farms.
Genell’s fear now is that small businesses, who don’t have the same financial cushion that multinational businesses have, will be struggling for a while.
“The President was down east yesterday talking about making sure that we all had the resources we needed. I just hope that the red tape in Washington does not stop those resources from getting here in a timely manner,” Genell added.