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South Raleigh businesses struggle to reopen after storms

Posted May 9, 2011

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— Business owners near downtown Raleigh are struggling to reopen their doors three weeks after a powerful tornado carved a path of destruction along South Saunders Street.

The area is marked by piles of debris, caved-in roofs and heavy equipment tearing down buildings that have been deemed unsafe by city inspectors.

Earp's Seafood Market has reeled in customers for 43 years, but the building was condemned after it sustained severe damage in the April 16 storm.

Nancy Earp Salmon's parents started the seafood business, and Salmon now runs it. She said it "looks worse" than it did immediately after the tornado because rain has seeped in and caused additional water damage.

"It's an unsafe building," she said.

Earp's Seafood Market South Raleigh businesses struggle to reopen after storms

Earp's, which is famous in Raleigh for its flounder fillets, is waiting on a city permit that will allow the family to rebuild its business. Salmon said that once the permit is approved, she anticipates being able to make the necessary repairs and upgrades to reopen within three months.

City zoning officials have to approve the rebuilding plans to ensure they comply with new codes implemented in 2011 that would have otherwise been grandfathered for the existing Earp's.

"Permit, permit, please Lord, permit, (so) that we can tear down and start again," Salmon said.

In the meantime, Salmon is impatient.

"Every day we're not open is a day a customer might go somewhere else," she said.

The business does have insurance, which is providing pay for Earp's five employees while the store is being rebuilt.

Down the street, other businesses are leaving their storm-ravaged storefronts behind.

Ralin Henry, owner of Reliable Collision and Painting, leases his current building, which has also been declared unsafe, but he's hoping to get a permit to do some business in the vacant building next door. 

He applied for a federal loan from the Small Business Administration and said his insurance covered the cars and equipment that were damaged in his shop.

A backhoe tore through what was left of Coats Auto Body and Paint on Monday. A sign on the body shop's fence said it is operating out of a temporary location on U.S. Highway 70 East in Garner.

12 Comments

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  • shortcake53 May 10, 2011

    Hoping these businesses can get back to business soon. Some are staples in the community and are sorely missed.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 10, 2011

    OGE - "Thast would not stop Earps from putting a tarp over it as many businesses have."

    Depends on the amount of damage. Sometimes it's so great you know you're going to have to start over anyway, so why tarp it.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 10, 2011

    bmg - "grandfathering is a nice way to say we can make you do everything from putting in a new turn lane to all new kitchens and landscaping to make you comply with the newest laws..."

    No, "grandfathering" means you're approved under the old laws you formed your business under and don't have to obey the new laws or codes.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 10, 2011

    "Permit, permit, please Lord, permit, (so) that we can tear down and start again," Salmon said.

    REALLY!!!

    Permits for those affected by storms should go to the top of the list for crying out loud.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 10, 2011

    They're waiting on GOVERNMENT employees to get them a permit. Anyone surprised? Wait til it's your healthcare.

  • archmaker May 10, 2011

    no, 'grandfathering' is a nice way of saying that you don't have to follow the current code. and no, its not raleigh, the whole state has the same building code.

  • bmg379 May 10, 2011

    grandfathering is a nice way to say we can make you do everything from putting in a new turn lane to all new kitchens and landscaping to make you comply with the newest laws,welcome to the city of fallen oaks

  • pappybigtuna1 May 10, 2011

    Earp's had a flat roof. What I can't get over is Salmon own's a seafood store, do you see it? That's is funny stuff. I, a man with a gruff exterior, inside beats the heart of a curmudgeon

  • cwood3 May 10, 2011

    Come on Raleigh-get on the stick. Reel back the red tape an get those permits issued.

    People's jobs and careers are on the line. Remember, some families have very little financial reserve. When ther is no income-what is one to do???

  • maintman May 9, 2011

    what Pts to Ponder said. I don't buy seafood anywhere else; we'll wait for Earp's to come back, as long as it takes.

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