Tornado-hit Raleigh seafood business hopes to reopen for New Year
Posted November 16, 2011
Updated November 17, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — New walls being constructed at Earp’s Seafood Market in Raleigh are a sign of hope that the business will make a comeback, seven months after a powerful tornado tore along South Saunders Street.
Earp’s, which was in business for 42 years, has been closed since the tornado hit. Owner Nancy Earp Salmon says she hopes to be selling fresh seafood by Jan. 1.
“People call and say, ‘Why aren’t you back?’ and I say, ‘I don’t know!’” she said.
The city issued a special permit to tear down and rebuild the business, but Earp’s insurance adjusters said parts of the building’s original walls needed to be salvaged. That changed the rebuilding plan and required another permit.
“All this takes time, and when it takes that long a time, there goes your business,” Salmon said.
Another challenge has been getting the 42-year-old building up to code. Salmon says she has had to put in $100,000 worth of upgrades to meet city requirements.
The rebuilt market will be a bit bigger, with higher walls for more visibility from the road. Those walls have a story.
Salmon’s parents started the business, and her father’s first cousin built the original walls. He often joked that he placed empty beer cans in each of the cinder blocks. When the tornado came on April 16, it revealed quite a beer collection.
“He’s long passed, but if he’s looking down, he’s laughing right now at that,” Salmon said.