New Bern businesses see slump 1 year after Florence

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A year after Hurricane Florence, some local businesses are still feeling the impacts.

Over the past year, businesses like The Boathouse, a nautical gift shop, have seen a drop in the number of people walking through their doors.

“We stand around here and go ‘where is everybody?’ So, it’s been you know, it’s slow,” said Blaine Kruger, a Boathouse employee.

Kruger says they see this kind of slump after every hurricane.

The shop closed up for two days for Hurricane Dorian.

However, it’s been especially bad in the past year because of Hurricane Florence.

“The whole year most businesses have been off anywhere from 8 to 10 percent, and we think it’s a direct reflection of number one, the convention center not being open…and then the DoubleTree,” said Sabrina Bengel, and Alderman for the City of New Bern.

Both buildings were badly damaged during Florence, and have been closed ever since.

“When we have a convention we get lots of new people coming into town and when they have the time off they wander around the street,” said Kruger.

The convention center is set to open back up the week of October 14th.

There’s still no word on when, or if, the DoubleTree Hotel will reopen.

“It does push us a little bit, but sometimes that’s not bad as a business person you have to think outside of the bod a little bit. I think that’s good for us, but you can never make up a loss,” said Bengel.

Bengel also said during the slump, businesses rely a lot more on local shoppers, and she hopes stores will get creative and revamp their marketing.

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