Fenestration Companies Begin Recovery After Hurricane Florence

September 21st, 2018 by Jordan Scott

Hurricane Florence brought major flooding to the Carolinas last week when it made landfall as a vast Category 1 hurricane. The storm killed at least 41 people and damaged homes and businesses in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Many roads continue to be flooded and some rivers have yet to crest, making clean-up efforts difficult in the hardest hit areas such as Wilmington, N.C.

DWM spoke with several fenestration businesses in North Carolina that are helping in the recovery efforts while trying to return to normal business operations themselves.

Lisa O’Leary, who works in human resources for Atlantic Glass Inc. in Wilmington, said the company is still removing boards from windows and doing emergency repairs in the area.

“One-third of our employees haven’t come back. Today’s my first day back,” she said Thursday.

Atlantic Glass is in the middle of getting back to work and aligning repairs for customers, according to O’Leary. She’s also trying to have her own home repaired, which received heavy damage during the hurricane.

She said the company is trying to handle repairs at commercial establishments where the windows have been breached first, because of the looters. Atlantic Glass will hold off on new installations until it can help those facing damage from Hurricane Florence.

“We’ve got windows out there that need to be installed on the Atlantic Beach, and Carolina Beach, but, prior to those getting installed, we need to make sure the customers that we do have are getting their board-ups done, and ensure they’re safe before the luxury homes get their transoms and things like that in,” said O’Leary. “We’re just making sure people are safe, our customers are safe. That’s our first priority.”

The Coastal Window & Door Center, also located in Wilmington, reopened Thursday.

“We all did okay. We’re back at work today for the first time since the storm. We all fared pretty well, considering,” said Kelly Hammond, secretary and receptionist.

She said she was surprised that the company has received only a few requests for mostly minor issues.

“I was really surprised when I got here this morning. I was expecting an overload of calls. We actually only had a few voicemails, while we were gone,” said Hammond. “Mostly just a few windows leaking, but nothing major.”

Much of the area was devastated by the flooding, but Hammond said everyone who works for The Coastal Window & Door Center is safe and suffered only minor damage.

The company began dispatching workers Thursday.

“… the calls I’ve gotten before were just minor leakage that … the guys will go out there and see what’s going on, and see what needs to be done about it,” said Hammond. “But honestly, nothing major. Not that I’ve heard so far. And we service what we sell, and so they will be calling us for service on it.”

She speculated the reason for so few calls is folks haven’t been able to return to their homes yet.

Hope Mills Glass, located farther inland in Fayetteville, N.C., just re-opened on Wednesday according to office manager Sandra Brewington.

“We’re starting to get busy but there are still people flooded and with no power,” said Brewington.

She said deliveries to the area stopped Wednesday, September 12 and just resumed the middle of this week.

In Jacksonville, N.C., located north of Wilmington, Gause Glass Co. is working to help the community recover.

“We shut down for a day and a half,” said office supervisor Gena Gentry on Thursday. “Business has picked up a lot. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of damage. It’s definitely hurting mom and pop stores. We’re hurrying to get customer priorities in order.”

Gentry said the majority of the glass damage she’s seen in the area is to storefronts and some residential windows. The company has had to order more supplies to accommodate the increase in orders. Flooding has made deliveries difficult but not impossible.

The company’s main priority is helping the community recover and keeping people safe.

“We’ve had guys out until almost 10 at night boarding up. We put sandbags all over the area trying to prevent as much water and glass damage,” said Gentry. “We’re trying to help out as much as we can and keep our prices fair for those with damage.”

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