Fayetteville businesses try to stay afloat after Hurricane Matthew flooding

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Businesses still feel Hurricane Matthew's effects in Cumberland County.

Small businesses are paying attention to state lawmakers' special session that began Tuesday.

Legislators will discuss disaster relief aid for victims following the western North Carolina wildfires and widespread devastation from Hurricane Matthew.

In Fayetteville, Christina Washington, the owner of Medical Arts Pharmacy, is struggling to recover two months after her business was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

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Since then, Washington moved her business further down Murchison Road across from Fayetteville State. She said one-third of her business is operational, and 40 percent of her customer base has returned.

"Every little penny counts," Washington said.


But without flood insurance, Washington feels the challenge to stay afloat. She has been forced to use her personal money and retirement to pay the rent and purchase supplies and equipment.

Washington has received some private donations and matching grants from the city. These grants, the Commercial Exterior Improvement Grant and the Small Business Retention Grant, are pre-existing
funds.

"I just signed for the grants this morning." Washington said. "I got a grant to help me to put a business sign up, and I also got one for replace inventory."

But it is still not enough.

During Tuesday's special session, Gov. Pat McCrory said he would like to see approved $200 million to help with disaster relief. Some of it would assist business owners such as Washington get back on their feet.

However, Washington has a lot of questions about the measure.

"Is it a grant or a loan?" Washington wondered. "And how do I access it? Is it going to be something that will require a lot of paper work? How long is it going to take for me to apply and get the funds?"

As she and others wait for those answers, they are waiting on FEMA assistance.

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