Back to Business

By: John Bachman
By: John Bachman

January 13, 2005
It’s back to business for Dean Williams, sort of. He owns a convenience store in Graniteville.

“I’m less than 500 yards away from the spill so I can’t tell you what it even looks like,” Williams said.

Most of his regular customers are employees at Avondale Mills.

“It’s been pretty bad, I mean we have no income what so ever coming in,” Williams said.

And part of his business is cashing checks. That’s why he says he set up shop on Highway 421.

Dean says his temporary location is not opportunistic, but just convenient for his customers. Avondale Mills is handing out checks just a few hundred yards away.

“I’m not here to make any more than I would normally be if I was sitting in my store,” Williams said,

Bobby’s Bar-B-Q is open again. It sits just outside the evacuated area.

“It’s been slow,” said Bobby Griffin.

Owner Bobby Griffin says customers are slow to return. The restaurant had shut down for five days. Most of the food on hand spoiled.

“So we had to throw that away. And of course also we lost our sales, and our employees couldn’t work, couldn’t get a paycheck,” Griffin said.

Bobby and Dean say Norfolk Southern officials offered to cover their losses. But that will take time. And both say things could have been worse.

“This is better than sitting in the house all day,” said Williams.

Dean Williams is only charging his regular one percent to cash checks for employees of Avondale Mills. Bobby’s Bar-B-Q is now open for regular business hours.

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