After Matthew: Homes still damaged at Christmas, businesses dealing with financial impact

After Matthew: Homes still damaged at Christmas

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - While many folks are spending their time last-minute shopping, others are still trying to put a roof over their head this Christmas following Hurricane Matthew.

Blue tarps are among holiday decorations on many homes on Wilmington Island. For some, it could mean they are still waiting on the finances to pay for it but most people say they've just been waiting for someone to come out and fix the damage.

WTOC spoke with one homeowner who says he called the roofing company two days after Matthew came through our area but the company wasn't able to come out to their home until this week to fix their roof.

Walton Carroll is among many people in the area who are still trying to get their homes back to normal this holiday season. Carroll says they are thankful the unexpected damage has not impacted their budget this Christmas, but he says other families were not as fortunate.

"We know some folks that had large deductibles and coming out of their pocket and it's going to make for a little bit tougher Christmas," said Carroll.

WTOC is told several churches around here are doing what they can, adopting families, to help them through this holiday season.

If folks are having trouble financially this season, this, of course, trickles down to folks spending less money.

"It's been tough. We've had a pretty hard Fall," said Sherry Davis.

Davis, of Davis Produce, says in 22 years of business they have never been this bad.

"Everyone was hit with unexpected bills," she said.

Located right off of Highway 80 near Johnny Mercer Boulevard, Davis Produce usually catches folks going out to Tybee. Even during the fall and winter months, they would see upwards of 100 customers a day. But since Hurricane Matthew, they are lucky to get half of that kind of traffic in their store.

"You struggle like anyone else trying to pay the bills," Davis said.

And if they aren't catching folks going out to Tybee, you can image what business is like there.

"People just don't have the money now because they are having to fix up their houses," said Nickie's Bar & Grill owner, Calvin Ratterree.

But Ratterree says the construction workers on Tybee Island are actually repairing a lot more than they realize.

"They are really actually the ones who have kept us busy right now," said Ratterree.

According to Tybee's mayor pro tem, the financial burden for some this holiday season is unbearable.

"A lot of insurance companies are taking two percent of the cost and some are five percent of the cost of the building. I know one particular person had an $89,000 deductible," said Mayor Pro-Tem Barry Brown.

Hurricane Matthew may be long gone but Brown says the storm is far from over. And businesses are hoping they'll still be afloat when the wake of Matthew ends. For some, they're hoping that will be in the spring.

"Oh yeah, we can't wait for St. Patty's Day," said Davis.

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