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Carolina vendors escape mostly unscathed from Florence

Published September 19, 2018

RENO, Nev. (BRAIN) — Interbike exhibitors based in North and South Carolina said their workers and facilities largely escaped damage from Hurricane Florence. BRAIN is still trying to contact coastal retailers who may have been affected.

Companies from that region report that aside from adjusting their travel plans, they saw little to no damage from flooding or storm winds.

“Our South Carolina factory is 70 miles inland, so our only fear was about flooding,” said Arnold Kamler, CEO of Bicycle Corporation of America, which operates a factory in Manning, South Carolina. “But the powerlines didn’t get knocked down. We furloughed workers on Thursday and Friday so they could prepare their homes. But the factory was up and running yesterday morning,” he said Tuesday.

Defeet’s Shane Cooper said he was fortunate the storm stayed south, so his company, headquartered in Hildebran, North Carolina, wasn’t affected.

“In Chapel Hill there was a lot of flooding in the streets,” he said. “It mostly stalled out our North Carolina guys who couldn’t fly out Sunday because they didn’t want to drive in hurricane weather. I left two guys home and three came out early.”

Industry Nine is based in Asheville, North Carolina. US sales manager David Thomas said the hurricane dissipated as it approached their location. Still, all flights out of Asheville were canceled on Sunday.

“We saw it coming and flew out of Atlanta instead,” Thomas said. “With us in the mountains, it rained but we didn’t lose power. I left on Sunday and we have no damage to our office. We shut down certain things but were not impacted.

“We prepared customers. We said we might have delays in shipments,” Thomas added.

Serfas, based in Arizona, has a warehouse in North Carolina. Serfas GM Erik Braucht said the warehouse manager had to take a boat to the facility on Saturday to inspect it. But he found everything was above water and there was no water in building.  

"They still have no clue as to when they will be able to get back to the building by car as there was 40-plus inches deep of water when they took the boat," Braucht said. For now, Serfas is shipping all orders from Arizona. 

Distributor J&B has a warehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina that was closed during the storm but re-opened Monday.

"Everyone here at J&B weathered the storm fine. The Raleigh area was spared most of the wind and rain. The warehouse had some minor overhead door damage that was repaired on Monday & Tuesday of this week. Power losses were kept short across the city," said J&B's facility manager, Daren Irwin.

"We have spoken with the majority of our customers that were struck by the storm. However we are still trying to contact a handful to find out how they are," Irwin said.

"Trucking companies have placed restrictions on freight going to those areas and are asking us not to ship to those affected terminals at all until the restrictions have been lifted. UPS and Fedex are making their best attempt to deliver parcels but cannot enter the restricted zones. Over 1100 roads are closed in North and South Carolina including Interstate 40 and Interstate 95 in several different locations."

Editor's note: A version of this story appears in BRAIN's Day 2 edition of the Interbike Show Daily. You can pick up a copy at the show today or download it at If you have any information on how coastal bike retailers were affected by the hurricane, please contact BRAIN's Steve Frothingham at

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