Businesses work together after damaging floods

Published 1:15 am Monday, October 17, 2016

During tough times, what sets a community apart is its ability to bounce back.

In the Washington area — and all of Beaufort County — residents are known for their willingness to lend a hand and pull one another back up. Just as individuals do this, the same holds true for businesses, as well.

Take, for example, the helping hand lent to Backwater Jack’s Tiki Bar and Grill.

If the power remains out for more an extended period of time, as it did in Washington, businesses are required by health officials to throw out any perishable food items. Any item refrigerated or frozen, from dairy to meats, must be thrown out to protect the public from food-borne illnesses.

This means restaurants throughout Washington, Backwater Jack’s included, were forced to dump thousands of dollars worth of food — dealing a harsh blow financially.

“When hurricanes happen and the power goes out, the health department goes around to different restaurants and tells them, ‘You have to throw out all of your food,’” said Laura Scoble, co-owner of Backwater Jack’s. “We had to throw everything out.”

Scoble said the restaurant was saved thousands of dollars thanks to good Samaritan Mac Jones, of Mac Jones Seafood.

When Jones’ daughter heard of the situation at Backwater Jack’s, she went straight to her father, whose business has ample freezer space.

Health officials won’t allow other foods to be stored in direct contact with seafood, so after Jones did some reshuffling, Scoble said she and co-owner Cathy Bell were able to store a couple of pallets there.

“Just that act of kindness by him and his wife and daughter Ashley was what we needed in a tough time,” Scoble said. “It was just huge for us.”

Although Backwater Jack’s did lose substantial amounts of food products, Scoble said the space at Mac Jones Seafood saved the business about $3,000.

Scoble and Bell spread their own kindness, too. The two helped Liane Harsh of Inner Banks Outfitters store some of her bicycles at their sister restaurant Jack’s Tavern to protect them from floodwaters.

“They helped us, and then we helped them,” Scoble said. “It was just so wonderful to see, in this community, we made it through.”