Hurricane benefits local economy

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

George Hill of Murfreesboro, N.C., spend a rainy Sunday morning at Franklin Bowling Center. Rainy days tend to bring more people to the bowling alley because people cannot be outdoors. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS



FRANKLIN—Carlton Cutchin, owner of Franklin Ace Hardware, saw two types of shoppers during the Hurricane Sandy weekend.

Some were stocking up on storm supplies. Others were shopping for “something to do.”

“It was better than the average weekend,” Cutchin said. “We had a pretty good Saturday and Sunday. People were looking for the basics like your batteries and extension cords and everything you need for a hurricane.”

Sales on Thursday through Saturday were brisk in Western Tidewater and slowed down a bit on Sunday and even more on Monday.

Walmart had a busy Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“It was like Christmas,” said Walmart manager Shonda Hill.

Shoppers were stocking up on soups, water, ice, milk and eggs.

With conditions expected to worsen on Sunday, Hill expected the normal after-church rush at the Franklin store.

Neil Drake, owner of Grayson and Emma’s Garden Center in Courtland, said Sunday was busier than expected.

“I’ve been surprised at the number of travelers,” said Drake, noting that 65 to 75 percent of his weekend business normally comes from travelers.

While pumpkins are traditionally big sellers the weekend before Halloween, they weren’t moving on Sunday.

“People have been coming in and picking up things to grill and getting soups and prepared food,” Drake said.

As for Franklin Bowling Center, owner Chuck Guynn said weather events like Sandy normally helps business because people can’t be outside and want something to do.

Huddle House waitress Katy Simmons said the Franklin restaurant on Sunday morning was slammed earlier than normal. Simmons assumed customers wanted to beat the weather.

Dajuan Everett was one such customer. The 25-year-old from Suffolk came out at about 10:30 to get breakfast and planned to stay home for the rest of the day.

“I hear it’s gonna get bad,” Everett said.

Dail’s Home Center in Franklin saw business pick up beginning Thursday.

“Business was good,” said Store Manager Steve Dail. “They were looking for the normal storm supplies.”

Propane was the biggest seller. Dail’s also saw an increase in requests for servicing generators.

“Getting generators running, testing them, buying cords and plugs,” he said.

Boykins Beans and Ice Cream owner Debbie McManus said the restaurant experienced a normal Saturday and a decent Monday.

“A lot of people came out for breakfast,” McManus said. “Our normal customers, and the kids out of school picked up business.”