LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Nearly a week and a half after Hurricane Matthew destroyed homes and businesses, people in Lumberton are starting the clean-up process.
Inside Fuller’s BBQ on Roberts Avenue, there are no lights, no food and no customers.
“When I come around that corner, and I could actually see the building, and all I could see was the top and (a bit) of the walls,” said Eric Locklear, owner of Fuller’s, describing the flood waters at the restaurant.
“It was like I got hit in the stomach with a low blow or something. It just took the breath out me,” he added.
It’s a fight Locklear wishes he wasn’t in.
“We just take this blow, get up, shake off,” he said.
Shaking it off, Locklear says, is one of the hardest parts.
“I get depressed when I walk in here by myself and start looking around,” he said.
On Tuesday, Locklear and his staff were cleaning up everything Hurricane Matthew left behind.
Some stuff they can save, while everything else has to get thrown away, including decorations. The restaurant was preparing to celebrate its 30-year anniversary next week.
Now, they have to start over.
“I am out of a job,” said manager Deidre Rogers. “But at the same time, we’re helping rebuild it, and helping everyone else rebuild their community.”
Rogers has been a manager for six years. She says the popular restaurant won’t be defeated.
“I was at church Sunday and Brother Jimmy said, ‘We’ll find a way when there’s no way,’ and that’s what Fuller’s BBQ is going to do,” Rogers said.
Locklear says someway the restaurant will get back on its feet, even if it’s one step at a time.
“Get back going, see what we got waiting for us on the other side of the bridge,” he said. “I say we’re taking a journey across the bridge to see what’s on the other side.”
The 30-year celebration won’t happen at Fuller’s BBQ next week, but Locklear says he’s planning to reopen the restaurant in the beginning of next year.