LUMBERTON — With spring just around the corner, people will soon doing yard work, cutting their grass and clearing the way to plant gardens, good news for a second-generation family owned business that took heavy losses in the October flooding in Robeson County.
Currie Chainsaw Inc., located at 1131 W. Fifth St., Lumberton, includes a small engine sales, parts and repair shop, a motorcycle and ATV dealership and repair shop.
William Currie, whose father Robert Currie established a McCullough Chainsaw store in 1951, said water flooded the shop, damaging the building and destroying inventory.
“We had probably, two feet of water in this building and about three feet in the motorcycle shop, and probably 18 t0 20 inches in our warehouse,” Currie said. “We’re still limping along but we did about a month’s worth of cleanup. We tried to get back together where we’d have a little bit of Christmas.”
The store’s inventory is not back to 100 percent yet, but he said the business is back repairing and servicing chain saws and lawn mowers for products that they sell.
His sister, Nancy Currie-Pittman, and her husband, John Pittman, run the motorcycle and ATV shop.
Approximately 190 new motorcycles were damaged in the flood, Pittman said, representing a loss of $1.5 million wholesale. The bikes can never be sold as new so they can’t fetch a full retail price, he said.
The dealership was also looted, with windows being broken and bikes stolen. But Pittman doesn’t dwell on that.
“Overall I think we saw the best in people,” Pittman said. “I think there were a few that wanted to kick you while you were down and take advantage of the situation. Those few — I think they took advantage of a lot of people. Most people weren’t that way. Most people were very helpful and did their best to help us get back on our feet.”
The good in people out shined the bad, Currie-Pittman said.
“We had a lot of volunteers. We had a lot of our Goldwing Road riders and other bikers from Fayetteville, Hope Mills, around here and from the Pembroke area,” she said. “They came and they cleaned. They put in sweat. They helped us pick up trash and the flooded inventory. They hauled it off to the dump and piled it up by the road.”
While the dealership is not fully repaired, it is functioning, Pittman said.
“We wanted to put things back together enough to where we could have a little bit of Christmas,” Pittman said. “About three weeks before Christmas we had the glass put back in the front of the business, the new units on the floor.”
As bad as things were in the beginning, the family kept it all in perspective.
“We were devastated and thought we really had it bad. Then we noticed people walking up and down the streets with all their belongings on their back and didn’t have anywhere to go,” Pittman said, his voice breaking. “We felt blessed then, you know?”
Currie said he never doubted that the business would reopen.
“It was a pretty sure thing that we were going to come back. Like he said, a lot of other people were homeless,” Currie said.
Currie-Pittman said the family knows all about overcoming adversity.
“We were burned out in ‘83 so we’ve come back before,” she said.
Willie Brown has been a customer for more than 30 years, having purchased motorcycles there. He also goes there for service and repairs.
“From the first time I walked into the door down there, I was treated like I was going to a family business that was owned by my family,” Brown said.
Brown, who lives about seven miles north of Fayetteville in the Eastover community, said it’s worth the drive to go to Currie’s.
“If I needed a spark plug, I’d drive down there to get it,” Brown said.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.