Many businesses open, but Matthew recovery still ongoing in Lenoir Co.

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Stores in Kinston are continuing to open their doors for the first time since Hurricane Matthew, most recently the Tractor Supply off Highway 70.

While the storm is long gone and the water has receded, the effects still remain.

Businesses in Kinston work with one goal in mind.

“We’re building something back, you know, and I live in Grifton, so I know the feeling of Matthew,” said construction worker Quinten Kenzie.

After Matthew, several feet covered parts of Highway 70. Months later, Bojangles and gas stations are still on clean-up duty.

Some places, like the Tractor Supply, are on the other side of recovery.

“Yes lord, yes, we’re glad to have it back,” customer Jerry Paschall said.

“It’s just one of those small towns,” said Paige Vermazen, Tractor Supply assistant manager. “Everybody knows everybody. For another store to be coming back open we’re just getting stronger and stronger and back to normal.”

Not everybody is as fortunate as Tractor Supply.

Lenoir County Economic Development Director, Mark Pope, said, “Maybe five or less (businesses) may be in that range that can’t open.”

Pope said his team works to assist businesses in need.

“We help them try to get where they need to be, in order to file for grants, in order to file for whatever assistance they can get,” Pope said.

Whether the store is open or on the way there, the folks in Kinston trust the process.

“It’s a symbol of hope that we can rebuild and come back from hurricanes and hurricanes,” Kenzie said.

“We will survive,” Pope said.

There will be a redevelopment plan meeting in Lenoir County tomorrow. It’s at the Woodmen Community Center at 6 and it is open to the public.

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