Local News

Businesses Bounce Back After Damage From Hurricane Floyd

Posted September 14, 2000

— East Carolina Universitystudied Floyd's impact on businesses. Researchers estimate the hurricane cost almost $4 billion in lost revenue and $1 billion in physical damage. Some businesses are trying to bounce back.

One year ago, downtown Tarboro looked more like a boat ramp after Hurricane Floyd hit. Since the water receded, businesses like Dean Bryan's have recovered.

"We've been very well pleased with how things have come back," Bryan says.

Down the street, Bob Harper got aSmall Business Administration(SBA) loan that helped him move his business across town. It did leave him with plenty of debt.

"You do have problems still, but not as big a problem we had at one time," he says.

While there are many businesses Down East that have been able to recover from Floyd's flooding to some degree, there are others that have not.

Nan Flake recently visited her former business for the first time since Floyd. The business sat near the Pitt-Greenville Airport that was flooded after Floyd.

"It's kind of heartbreaking to know, that you have lost everything because of this," she says.

Flake has to sell her home to erase a $500,000 hole Floyd created. She says she applied for an SBA loan four times. By the time she heard back from the agency, her business was bankrupt, and the SBA only gives loans to existing businesses.

"It's almost like a catch-22. If I was still in business, I might could get a cheap loan, but I couldn't hold onto the business any longer," she says.

The SBA can only find one application from Flake. The agency's area director for disaster assistance says cases like this are the exception.

The SBA insists the cases of distress are far outweighed by the stories of success. Of all the businesses that applied for SBA loans, about 60 percent were approved which is higher than normal.

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