KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The Neuse Sport Shop in Kinston reopened Wednesday after flooding from Hurricane Matthew left inches of standing water throughout the building.
It took eight days of hard work and dedication from employees, contractors and volunteers to get the store ready, and Gov. Pat McCrory attending the reopening ribbon cutting.
“To have the store open is like a weight off my shoulders to see that we finally made it,” said Russell Rhodes, the store’s CEO.
Rhodes said there is still plenty of work that needs to be done, but he’s happy to see customers back shopping.
“I came here specifically to get my rod and reel redone for surf fishing, and they didn’t have the machine working, but they did make arrangements to find a drop cord,” said customer Jerry Smith.
Smith said that’s why he keeps coming back; friendly and hardworking staff.
Kinston Sport Shop Kolby Holland said there is a different atmosphere at the shop after working together to rebuild.
“We have gotten closer,” said Holland. “We work together, we came together and we eat together. It’s like family time all the time. It’s just awesome.”
Rhodes said he is thankful for everyone who helped the store reopen, and after he finishes the rest of the clean-up he is planning to open a second store somewhere in eastern North Carolina.
Besides attending the Neuse Sports Shop ribbon cutting, Gov. McCrory also stopped at Morningside Drive to talk with Kinston homeowners.
McCrory said right now more than 400 people remain in shelters across the state, and he is working to get them into hotels or mobile homes provide by FEMA.
He said it’s heartbreaking to see what families are going through.
“This is an emotional time for all of us involved,” McCrory said. “It’s a beautiful sunny day here in North Carolina, and there are people that their car was underwater, their furniture is gone and their clothing is ruined.”
McCrory said the state has passed on $50 million in federal funding for those affected.