Hurricane Matthew Leaves Tint Shops Devastated

October 18th, 2016 by Katherine Coig

Although the peak of Hurricane Matthew has passed, much of the East Coast has been left in shambles from Georgia to the Carolinas. Damage from the storm is still being assessed, though most tint shops in those areas don’t qualify for flood insurance. And many owners are left unsure of where the future of their shop is headed.

Inside Ronnie's Tint and Auto in Lumberton, N.C., following Hurricane Matthew.

Inside Ronnie’s Tint and Auto in Lumberton, N.C., following Hurricane Matthew.

The Category 5 hurricane is the first to hit the East Coast since Felix in 2007, and has caused at least 43 deaths in the United States—over half that number comes from North Carolina alone.

So far, there’s been little improvement on getting back to work, let alone getting into their shops to see all of the damage.

Ronnie’s Tint and Audio in Lumberton, N.C., is one of the many local tint shops that’s lost almost everything. Ronnie Locklear, owner, explained that he hasn’t been able to go in and assess all of the damage yet, but knows the outlook is bleak.

“I haven’t been able to go in and look at everything yet, I’ve been trying to help with the community,” he says, “but I lost a good bit, or all, of my tint. My plotter is gone, too.”

His shop sustained quite a bit of damage—the roof caved in, which allowed the water to pour in and soak all of his tint and audio equipment. He also estimated that his shop had at least two and a half feet of water. Either way Locklear looks at it, he has to rebuild or move to a new shop, both of which are costly expenses. He explained that Lumberton isn’t considered to be a flood-zone, which are designated by FEMA, so it can be costly to get flood insurance in the area.

“I’m going to try and rebuild,” he says. “SunTek’s offered to help me get back on my feet. It surprised me, but it was very nice of them to call and check in on me and see what they could do to help.”

Despite his own losses, Locklear seems to be more worried about how his community is holding up since nearly 2000 people in his town lost their homes and are living in schools and shelters, he explained.

“People have lived in these houses for generations—to see all the stuff damaged, gone,” he says, “it’s one of the most disturbing things that I’ve seen.”

Locklear is hoping to be back at work soon, “We hope to know by today where we’ll be working from, temporarily, while the shop is repaired,” he says.

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