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Tornado-hit Raleigh seafood business hopes to reopen for New Year

Posted November 16, 2011
Updated November 17, 2011

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— 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.

Tornado-stricken restaurant hopes to reopen in 2012 Tornado-stricken market hopes to reopen in 2012

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.

14 Comments

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  • jelly bean Nov 18, 2011

    Someone is asleep at the wheel here. Everyone else is open, recovered and moving on. People will quit Earp's because they have been closed so long. They are done.

  • Jerp Nov 17, 2011

    You can get fresh seafood from Saltwater Seafood at the corner of Capital and Fenton. I think its the Earp family, just a different name. You can also get fried seafood to go there and it is always fantastic!

  • Love my boys Nov 17, 2011

    I hope they open soon! We've got a lot of birthdays coming up and we always have fresh shrimp from Earps.

  • chubbins Nov 17, 2011

    Absolutely thrilled, I miss that place so much!!

  • BULLCityBGTD Nov 17, 2011

    best place to go for oysters. the beer cans don't surprise me, the people there are awesome, gotta love them!

  • jollyrogered Nov 17, 2011

    So excited for them to reopen. Wishing them the best of luck during the rebuilding process!

  • thewayitis Nov 17, 2011

    Love Earps! Hope things move along for them.

    And yep, all the building codes these days stink. Soon nobody will be able to build anymore -- all the building codes require more money, and it's pricing homes out of a first time homebuyers reach.

  • connie2006 Nov 16, 2011

    Beer Cans.... Hilarious!!!!

  • bohica2 Nov 16, 2011

    Blu-burd - your issue is likely your browser formatting, not WRAL. Try it again in another browser and see for yourself.

  • blu-burd Nov 16, 2011

    Under the word Latest, Ithink the other word is comments.Please fix it so the first line of a comment is not blurred. that is not very professional.and is irritating. Thank you for your speedy attn. J.Glenn.

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