HOLLY RIDGE, NC (WECT) - A customer’s loyalty can mean everything to a business, and in the case of one area restaurant, it meant keeping the business afloat.
Twelve feet of floodwater filled Holland’s Shelter Creek Restaurant in Burgaw after Hurricane Florence. The restaurant also flooded after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
The restaurant had been in Burgaw for almost 40 years until the owner, Stephen Holland, said he had no choice but to demolish it in October. Holland wasn’t sure if he had the money to rebuild but loyal customers stepped up to help.
Mike and Annette Barnes ate at Holland’s at least once a week for 20 years. They bought a building in Holly Ridge in March 2018, thinking they’d tear it down and possibly build a structure to house their business.
Annette said they didn’t have any definite plans for the piece of land, and when they heard about Holland’s after the storm, they wanted to help.
“We had heard back and forth different things. … They were going to rebuild or they’re not, so we just decided we would reach out and see if any decisions had been made," she said, “and if not, if [using the Barnes’ building] would be something he would want to do.”
Holland said it was going to be too hard to rebuild on the property in Burgaw because he’d have to raise the building 12 feet, which wouldn’t be good since a lot of the customers are older. He also said he didn’t have enough space for a parking lot or enough handicapped spots.
He took the Barnes up on their offer to lease the building, then ended up restoring it.
“Mike called me and asked me would I come and look," Holland said. “It looked real good with 'Holland’s’ on the front of it."
Mike and construction crews started repurposing the building at 756 East Ocean Highway in Holly Ridge into a restaurant in January.
Holland said he is thankful his customers thought of him.
“You can’t make it without your good customers, and I wasn’t quite ready to quit," Holland said. "I’m old enough but I wasn’t quite ready to quit.”
The Barneses were happy to help, and couldn’t imagine a world where the restaurant didn’t exist.
”It’s a landmark," Annette said. “It’s a place where everybody knew where to go eat, and you would see people from everywhere there, not just locals. It was sad to think that wasn’t happening anymore.”
Holland hopes to open the restaurant in May.