Sawgrass Spotlight: Community over Catastrophe

Tom Copeland/AP

Tom Copeland/AP

Catastrophe hit North Carolina last month. Hurricane Florence dropped over 36 inches of rain in some locations, placed 759,013 people without power, caused an estimated $50 billion in damages and claimed 43 lives (USA Today). Rain poured for three days straight over eastern North Carolina causing historic flooding which prevented utility crews from restoring power for a week. Though soaked, exhausted and distraught- our community banded together before breaking down. These are just some of the stories from your neighbors and local businesses who went above and beyond to bring our coastal towns back to life.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Angela Kelly of Surf City, NC lost everything and was tired from bringing all of her belongings to the curb. Surf Dog Bites and Brews provided everyone a hot meal free of charge, just for being a part of the community. “I was so hungry after all of the work. I don’t have much money and my business is gone as well. It meant the world to me to be able to go somewhere and have a great meal with a thankful and uplifted heart.”

Shaka Taco and Surf City BBQ also opened their doors to the community while power was being restored and offered warm meals to those on Topsail Island.

James Hansley was searching for food with his wife in Hampstead and pulled into Village Café after seeing lights on inside. “The owner {came} out to the car and said they stopped serving at 6:30, but {had} a pan of lasagna and we would have it if we {would} like. He gave us a free hot meal. He said he’s been doing it for eight days. He said people have been coming in and paying for their meal and paying for the next persons meal. We left money for the next persons meal. This is why I love my little town of Hampstead, NC.” It was the best meal they had since the hurricane hit.

Atlantic Seafood also provided over 1,800 free meals to the greater Hampstead community. And the generosity didn’t stop there, Poe’s Tavern, Boombalatti’s, and ChickfilA all provided meals to the local Wilimington community and out-of-state utility workers.

Sarah Vankat Luchansky and her neighbors could not access their homes due to downed trees and flooding. Brad Wallace Irrigation and Landscaping, a resident of the neighborhood, offered to help with any debris and tree clean up. “He also was instrumental with pumping the water off our streets and years so neighbors could get to their homes. Way to go Brad!”

Heather Idol, a local business owner and tenant of Sola Salons Mayfair and Hanover Center could not be more grateful to salon own, Blair Kutrow. “[Blair] has gone above and beyond for all of [her tenants]. She has kept us informed, not charged us rent, touched base with all 60+ studio owners and even extended her own home to us for power or showers before we were restored. Her kindnesses extend far beyond those of us that work for her but well into the community as between wet vacuuming the salons and sending emails she has been volunteering with World Kitchens to prepare meals for linemen and victims in the shelters. An amazing lady indeed!”

Alexander Gerst/ESA/Twitter

Alexander Gerst/ESA/Twitter

40% of small businesses are unable to recover after natural disasters. Sawgrass Marketing hopes you will support these local businesses who looked after our hometown in a desperate time of need. When a company places people before profit, lifetime loyalty is earned. We know we’ll always support these great businesses along the Carolina coast.

While the reporters have left, debris still sits at curbs and trees lay left to be removed as Tropical Storm Michael hits us again. If you do not live in North Carolina, you can still help. The charities below directly benefit those who have lost everything from Hurricane Florence. Every dollar you donate matters.

Courtney Ross

Courtney Ross is a Florida-native, new mom-to-be, and owner of Sawgrass Marketing. Her career took her to Washington DC where she fell madly in love with a Marine and the rest is history.

Courtney consults local businesses to help optimize their marketing strategies including: website development, digital marketing campaigns, and social media advertising.