Leland-based Manufacturing Methods is just one of numerous Southeastern North Carolina businesses that suffered damages and is still somewhat recovering from when Hurricane Florence hit in mid-September.
The company’s facility in the Leland Industrial Park had roof damage from the storm, which resulted in water damage primarily to its office space, said Pete Peterson, founder and CEO of the company.
Manufacturing Methods is one of many companies named in a recent assessment conducted by economic development agency North Carolina’s Southeast in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The report, which assessed general damage in the organization’s 18-county region in partnership with local economic development agencies, was released to the Department of Commerce Oct. 11, said Steve Yost, president of North Carolina’s Southeast.
Of North Carolina’s Southeast territory, 16 counties were designated federal disaster areas, including New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick.
During the hurricane, Peterson endured the storm at Manufacturing Method’s facility. And as of Oct. 22, the company was operating normally, but offices were relocated into trailers.
In retrospect, Peterson said, “for all of the damage that occurred, much of that was minimized through the great service we received from Sentry Insurance.”
Company officials, however, would not provide damage estimates as they were still calculating totals.
Bradford Products was also named in the report. The company’s CFO Mark Miller said the business suffered significant damage in Leland Industrial Park, as well as its location in Wilmington.
Work spaces in Leland had water damage, and the firm is in the process of rebuilding, he said. For the time being, 21 of its employees there are either working remotely or in unaffected areas of the facility, he said.
“We expect reconstruction to be completed in the next three to four weeks,” Miller said of the Leland facility, which he estimated had about $400,000 in damages from the storm.
The company’s Wilmington facility was more severely damaged, he said.
“Our Wilmington facility, however, suffered over $1 million in damage. We haven’t received the appraisals back from our adjusters yet, but we lost the back half of our building and unfortunately a new roof we had just put on, which the roof alone costs over $500,000,” Miller said.
It will take about three to four months to get manufacturing going again in Wilmington. Operations there were transferred to the Leland location, he said.
These companies were not the only ones with damages, according to the North Carolina’s Southeast report. Other Brunswick County firms named in the report included Lee Linear and ITI Technologies Inc.
GE Aviation, which was down for a week, was the only New Hanover County firm named in the report. Although the report stated that “many businesses (especially small businesses)” in New Hanover were out of operations for weeks.
When asked why more businesses were not named in the report, Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development, said “we were asked to gather the top 3-4 impacts for New Hanover and Pender counties for the state’s analysis.”
“The competitive nature both locally, regionally and nationally of companies located in the Greater Wilmington region may lead to a reluctance to publicly disclose impacts such as lost production or a damaged facility,” he added. “Some companies choose to quality work with insurers in tallying losses and moving forward while others may be more comfortable with publicly discussing impacts to their operations. In either case, WBD respects their decision.”
The Port of Wilmington suffered $40 million in damages. And the U.S. 421 roadway wash-out was noted as a “significant issue” in Pender County’s report.
To help the region recover, the North Carolina’s Southeast report had a list of short- and long-term recommendations to the state. Those recommendations included calling on the state to allocate $70 million in various programs and grants for business and infrastructure recovery. The report also called for repairs to U.S. 421 and Port of Wilmington to be a top priority for the state.
The North Carolina legislature approved $850 million in Hurricane Florence recovery funds in October.
While the report did not come in on time to have a direct impact on the legislators’ decisions, commerce officials said some of the recommendations have been addressed, such as $20 million allocated to the Golden Leaf Foundation for its local government rural infrastructure fund and an additional $5 million for small business recovery loans.
There are several other recommendations included in the report that commerce officials hope can be addressed once the legislature convenes in November.