Small Businesses in Wilmington, NC Prepare for Worst of Hurricane Florence

small business impact of hurricane florence

Hurricane Florence is slogging its way toward the North and South Carolina coastline. But in one community smack in the middle of the cone of uncertainty, small restaurant owners are telling Flo to kiss their grits … or fondue.

As it sits now just off the coast of Wilmington, NC, Florence is a Category 2 hurricane. That’s a dramatic change from Wednesday afternoon, when it was listed as a major Category 4 storm.

Small Business Impact of Hurricane Florence

However, the downgrade isn’t reducing much of the risk to small businesses in the path of the storm. Flooding and storm surge remain a very dangerous threat to these businesses — threats that could put some companies, sadly, out of business forever.

In a tweet Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center warned residents in the affected areas not to get a false sense of security now that Flo is a Category 2 storm.

“Do not focus on the wind speed category of #Hurricane #Florence! Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected,” the agency insisted.

Experts expect the hurricane to make landfall on Thursday evening or it could stall off the coast but still bombard the area with torrential rain.

Restaurants in Wilmington Prepare for Hurricane Florence

At around 6 p.m. Wednesday, the owners of Little Dipper Fondue published this celebratory post to their Facebook following:

“And…. done! Flo sho! Now we can only wish that the penny on the road brings luck to us and those businesses around us!”

In a late-night message to Small Business Trends, owners of Little Dipper Fondue summed up the experience, saying, “It’s been a whirlwind of emotions!”

One of the last businesses open in Wilmington on Wednesday was extra busy. It’s reported that Goody Goody Omelet House kept extra staff on hand the day before Florence was expected to make landfall to satisfy all its customers.

Small Business Impact of Hurricane Florence
Photo via Shutterstock

Most companies got out early this week. On Tuesday, the Cape Fear Seafood Company restaurant posted this message to Facebook followers:

“Cape Fear Seafood Company will be closing tomorrow Tuesday, September 11th at 8 p.m. in order to give our staff and their families time to prepare for and evacuate the area if necessary with Hurricane Florence approaching.

We wish you all the best through the next several days and hope that everyone remains safe throughout the storm.

We will reopen as soon as it is safe and look forward to serving you all again soon!”

Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn, which has four locations, including one in Wilmington, NC, posted this message to followers on Facebook Wednesday:

“We will be CLOSED WEDNESDAY, Thursday, and Friday.
Due to Hurricane Flo, we will be closing ALL FOUR LOCATIONS at 2 p.m. Wednesday and will be closed Thursday and Friday. Depending on conditions, we will try to reopen on Saturday, Sept. 15.


Florence Will Cause Scheduling Nightmares

Restaurants aren’t the only businesses facing disruptions and a likely drop in clientele with the approach of the storm . The down time is going to hurt a lot of beauty salons wherever Florence makes landfall.

In Wilmington, the owners of The Rockin’ Roller Salon decided to close up shop on Wednesday, too. They expect to be closed until Sept. 18, next Monday.

They let clients know on Facebook they’ll get to their appointments after they return and open for business. But imagine the headaches caused by a week’s worth of appointments needing to be rescheduled — on top of whatever Florence causes.

Even the local Chamber of Commerce pulled up stakes earlier this week as the storm advanced. According to the group’s Facebook page, Wilmington’s chamber closed on Sept. 11 and expects to remain closed the rest of the week.

Check out all these other images from around downtown Wilmington as businesses there prepare for Hurricane Florence:

This small business kept the doors open to customers on Tuesday but boarded up the windows in advance of the storm.

Small Business Impact of Hurricane Florence
Photo via Shutterstock

Farmin’ locked up tight on Tuesday, a full 48 hours before Florence was ready to strike Wilmington.

Small Business Impact of Hurricane Florence
Photo via Shutterstock

The On a Roll shop was getting ready to roll out of town on Tuesday as well.

Small Business Impact of Hurricane Florence
Photo via Shutterstock Comment ▼

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

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