Few businesses try to stay open as Charleston turns into a ghost town

CHARLESTON, S.C. - It’s a ghost town atmosphere in what’s usually a lively street in Charleston’s historic district.

As many businesses in Charleston close up shop ahead of Hurricane Florence’s arrival, one coffee shop remained open Wednesday morning.

Bakehouse Coffee Shop’s owner, Esther Senft, says her decision to remain open was a business necessity.

“Well we are paying rent every single day, so that’s definitely a motivating factor,” says Senft. “And we’ve been watching the storm, and decided not to leave, unless we really have to.”

While Senft knows city officials are concerned in keeping people safe, she believes they may have ordered mandatory evacuations—which began Tuesday—too early.

“It’s a tremendous impact, every day every half day that people are leaving.

A business owner across the street shared similar sentiment.

“I feel it’s a little early,” says David Howard. “I mean, we’re still 48 hours away and the city’s basically vacated. I’m all for the safety, especially for the staff, but it seems maybe a day early.”

A few customers the businesses saw said it was better to remain on the safe side.  

“A storm like this, yeah, maybe some businesses are gonna be shut down a few days, but if lives are saved because the order was made a little early, that has to be the right decision, I think,” says customer Paul O’Brien.

Another customer, Ashley Iseman, agreed, “I think, safety first. I don’t have a problem with that. Safety first.

As the day continued, Senft had a change of heart and made the decision to close the shop until the storm passes.

“That’s not gonna be worth it,” says Senft. “Now, there’s other things that are more important.

She says the decision was mainly for her family’s sake.

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