Kinston businesses, community still suffering from Matthew aftermath

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Businesses in Kinston are trying to move forward after Hurricane Matthew hit more than 30 days ago.

Local hotels, Bojangles and gas stations are still shut down in Lenoir County, and for many, the clean-up process has been long and tedious.

“It’s a very discouraging sight,” said Dickie Killinger, who owns North Carolina Billards off U.S. 70 in Kinston.

Before Matthew hit, he sold pool tables and video games. But for now, a closed sign remains on his door. He said between Christmas and New Years is the busiest time of the year for them, but this year will be a struggle.

“I’m worried about it, but it’s just something we are going to have to get through,” said Killinger.

Tractor Supply is thinking outside the box. The inside of the store won’t be ready until early next year, so crews took merchandise outside to the parking lot where they are selling 20 of the store’s most popular items.

Other businesses off of U.S. 70 are still open, although major repairs are still needed.

Business owners said work doesn’t stop even with damaged offices, and the money needs to keep rolling in .

“It’s very hard and very inconvenient, but it’s something that you just have to go through,” said William Shackelford, business owner.

While businesses work to recover, ECU seniors majoring in social work spent the day giving back to those affected by Matthew..

Students dropped off goods and supplies by the truck load at the salvation army in Kinston.

The items will go to Friends of the Homeless, SAFE in Lenoir County, FLEN and the Salvation Army.

ECU student Ashleigh Yearde said it was their senior project.

“I just think it is really important to reach out to the community and just to reach out in any way we can,” Yearde said. “We noticed there was still a need for help after the storm.”

Some of the items dropped off included fruits, vegetables and potatoes.

All the food was donated from True Vine Produce, based out of Sparta, North Carolina.

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