Nichols preparing for harsh winter weather, still struggling aft - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Nichols preparing for harsh winter weather, still struggling after Matthew

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NICHOLS,SC (WMBF) - Nichols employees have been working non-stop to put their community back together after Hurricane Matthew flooded the area, and now the coming winter storm is just another thing they'll have to overcome. However, some local businesses are re-opening their doors and providing the town with hope.

Shelly Herring is the general manager at Sunny Mart which re-opened this week after being shut down by Hurricane Matthew. "Lots not coming back. Not just us. We were fortunate enough to come back, but a lot of homeowners and a lot of businesses aren't coming back." said Shelly Herring.

After so much devastation following Hurricane Matthew and the floods that followed, people in Nichols say seeing the Sunny Mary re-open was a sight for sore eyes.

"We just opened back up Wednesday morning and the store was packed, we had people waiting outside to get in." Herring said. "It was just like a beacon of light. It was like it brightened back up the town and when I saw that it gave me chills and it still does because it's been so devastating here. Sunny Mary is kind of like the HUB of the community."

And the re-opening couldn't have come at a better time, with freezing temperatures on the way.

"People are starting to get prepared for it. You know we'll be out of our typical bread and milk and water, we're gonna put down salt for when it's slippery and just do what we have to do to prepare for it." Herring said.

Mayor Lawson Battle says the town is making a slow recovery and hopes this winter weather won't set them back. Battle says there are currently only 24 people who are back in their homes since the Hurricane and many still without heat to keep them warm. However, he says Nichols has proven to be resilient.

"Let's weather the storm and hopefully we don't get what we did with Matthew."

Mayor Battle says local churches along with surrounding communities and Marion County are helping people in Nichols with disaster relief. The City of Marion is also providing a warming shelter for anyone still without heat.

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