Located directly in the path of Hurricane Florence, the Holt Cstore chain is making the best of a scary situation.
Convenience retailers often have to prepare of severe weather, but the Holt Cstore chain, based in Wilmington, N.C., sat tight Thursday afternoon nervously eying Hurricane Florence, with little recourse but to wait.
“Right now we are just sort of sitting ducks, as we have prepared over the last few days,” said Hannah Holt, owner of parent Holt Oil Co. “We were able to keep all of our stores supplied with gasoline. Needless to say we have pumped a lot of gas at each location and we have been able to fully-staffed our stores.”
As the monumental storm began to pound the shore of the Outer Banks, Holt was wrapping up final preparations. However, the totality of the storm made a hard job almost impossible. Packing maximum sustained winds of over 100 mph, the Category 2 hurricane is expected to make landfall early Friday morning and dump as much as 40 inches of rain in some areas.
“We were able to board up three of our seven (coastal) locations,” Holt said. “Lumber and plywood are already scarce. I’m concerned about looting as I am sure we will lose power. I am concerned about flooding.”
Those affected areas include Bender County, N.C.
The family business operates a store location in the town of Bolivia, close to the South Carolina border, which was closed when staff members left about a day ago because of the evacuation. All told, about 75% of Holt’s employees has evacuated those threatened areas.
One of Holt’s chief concerns is just how difficult it will be to get stores back up and running when the hurricane dissipates. Right now, Holt and the remaining employees must wait and pray for the best.
“We don’t have any maintenance crew on staff so trying to get a carpenter or contractor to make repairs will probably be one of our biggest challenges,” said Holt. “It will be our goal to get open as soon as possible as we know a lot of people will be trying to get back in town and check on their properties.”
The build up to the storm’s arrival has been a stressful during the last few days.