Business in Garden City picks up after Irma

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It has been a little over a week since Hurricane Irma swept across the Grand Strand, bringing strong winds, heavy rains and flooding to parts of Garden City.

As the storm rapidly approached the East Coast, local businesses and neighbors feared for the worst, but came together in the midst of the storm.

Last Monday, Atlantic Avenue was completely submerged and looked like a ghost town. This week, most businesses are back up and running, and people have returned home.

Still, for some, the cleanup process is still underway.

With so much uncertainty about Irma's path of destruction, businesses like Garden City Coffee Grounds and Garden City Grocery prepared for the likes of Hurricane Matthew.

"You have options - either board up, lift everything up, or get out," said Matthew Hutton, owner of Garden City Coffee Grounds.

Homeowners near Azalea Avenue said during the storm last Monday, strong winds ripped away part of their roof. They are now waiting to hear from their insurance company.

Hutton, originally from Pittsburgh, said he knew moving to the Grand Strand meant hurricanes and understands it's a part of living in paradise. He recently painted marks on his coffee shop walls to remind everyone just how powerful Mother Nature can be.

"We have to enjoy what we have here while we can because no shore line lasts forever, so enjoy it while you have it," said Hutton.

Some locally-owned business owners said the hurricane forced many people to evacuate and tourists to cancel their vacations.

"You know our bread and butter is tourist and tourists aren't going to come when they're expecting a category three hurricane and the governor is saying it could be as bad as Hugo. People remember Hugo," said Mike Hughes, owner of Garden City Grocery.

Despite the end of vacation season coming in October, business owners in Garden City said tourism is picking back up again after a two-week slump.

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