JEFFERSON-A Jefferson shopping center that closed in January following a series of mudslides has been allowed to re-open.
That news comes from Ashe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill.
“The engineering firm hired by Bower & Johnson has indicated that the slope construction at the shopping center at 658 S. Main Street in Jefferson appears to have been constructed in accordance with their engineering recommendations and that the retail spaces should be safe to occupy,” Gambill wrote in an email. “Based on their findings, we are allowing the businesses at the shopping center to reopen effective today, with the stipulation that Bower & Johnson continue to implement the remainder of the engineering recommendations made by EAS Professionals.”
Gambill said she’s glad the company was able to correct the situation and enable the impacted businesses to re-open.
A slope to the rear of the shopping center began to slide on Jan. 17. Three days later, the slide worsened and threatened to send tree limbs, rocks and mud into the rear of the shopping center.
That Jan. 20, slide forced the closure of such community stalwarts as Quality Hair Care, When Pigs Fly BBQ & Wings, Renegade Graphics and Joy of Vaping/True Image Ink. Friends and family – and in some cases total strangers – answered online calls for assistance and arrived at the center to help business owners move inventory and equipment from the property.
Kristin Howell, the owner of When Pigs Fly BBQ & Wings, said electric service was restored to her diner around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, but she’d been waiting for the lights to come back on since Saturday, when she began moving equipment back into her space.
So far, they’ve moved 11 truck loads of equipment back into the eatery since Saturday morning.
She said she estimated the mudslide has cost her some $28,000 to date, but hopes to re-open as soon as March 6. She said the health department will inspect the space on March 3.
“I’m going to get my beer permit Friday also,” Howell said. “This is sink or swim at this moment.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.