WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Six months after Hurricane Florence, southeastern North Carolina continues to fight back day by day.
Chuck Pennington is the owner of The Verandas, a Wilmington bed and breakfast he has run for two decades. The building took a huge hit with 20 inches of rain during the height of the storm.
“There’s a little light at the end of the tunnel, just a little,” says Pennington. “When the workers start painting, then I know I’ll be over the hump.”
Keeping track of what’s open and what’s not isn’t easy for the the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has been trying to keep a running tab on its website.
“I think it’s less than 10 percent now, looking at the numbers that we track,” says Director Kim Hufman. “That doesn’t include private properties. They’ve really been harder to gauge. We’ve been working with our private companies with vacation rentals and agencies so it’s hard to track how much of their inventory is still down."
WECT has helped pass that information along, profiling businesses experiencing what we’re calling a Cape Fear Comeback.
In the last week, we’ve seen South Beach Grill in Wrightsville Beach reopen. On Friday, March 1, Shell Island Resort will have a soft opening after hurricane damage destroyed much of the first floor. In Carolina Beach, the Savannah Inn is hopeful it can reopen.
“The damage we incurred was extensive," Savannah Inn owner Susan Riggs said. "It took off the entire roof of the building and flipped it in the pool and dunes.”
Riggs hopes to be able to rent some rooms in one of the buildings spared by the storm.
Pennington hopes The Verandas will see its first guests sometime in May.
“We want to welcome people back to Wilmington and let them know we survived the storm," he said.
For more information on what’s open after the storm, click here.