Gov. Roy Cooper: “NC beaches are open for business”


SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper visited Surf City Thursday to survey restaurants damaged by Hurricane Florence and see firsthand how the recovery effort is going.

Surf City and the rest of Topsail Island suffered a lot of damage during the storm and as recovery efforts continue, residents and business owners want to know that they aren’t being forgotten.

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Governor Cooper visited Daddy Mac’s and Gallagher’s Restaurant, which have both reopened since the hurricane.

“One of the messages that’s pretty clear to me is that North Carolina beaches are open for business,” said Gov. Cooper.

The owner of Daddy Mac’s says they had some roof damage and lost their beach access stairs, but were lucky overall.

Gallagher’s Bar & Grill Manager Peter Sloan says they had to renovate the entire restaurant, but were able to keep their staff and reopen quickly.

“That means employees can get back to work, that puts money in their pockets, that means more tax money can come to the state,” said Gov. Cooper.

Sloan says since then business has been better than it typically is this time of year.

“We have a lot of contractors in town, so the contractors need somewhere to sleep, somewhere to eat,” Sloan said. “And, so there’s a lot of contractors and roofers and such. A lot of them did leave after Michael hit Panama City, but the ones that are here are still very, very busy.”

Steven Pasquantonio who owns Daddy Mac’s says their experience has not been the same.

“Our business is definitely off about 35-40 percent from where it should be, and we were in the midst of kind of a record summer, so it really took a lot of wind out of our sails,” said Pasquantonio.

Both men were thankful for Cooper’s visit and say it shows the community that the state still cares about the recovery effort.

“There’s a lot of struggles throughout Pender County, not just here on the coast. So I think having Governor Cooper come down, see things firsthand is very very important to the community,” said Sloan.

There are some businesses that have yet to reopen, but progress seems to be going well for most.

Gov. Cooper also toured the new Surf City bridge.