Shem Creek businesses face cleanup after Tropical Storm Idalia pushes through

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:49 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - As we continue to follow Idalia’s clean-up efforts from throughout the Lowcountry, businesses along Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant are handling the aftermath of the storm.

Businesses on Shem Creek are no strangers to high tides and storms, but Wednesday night with kings tide, storm surge and Idalia, the parking lots of almost all businesses flooded, leaving a busy morning of cleanup.

Both Saltwater Cowboys and Geechie Seafood say they prepared their businesses as much as possible, but still had to clean up debris from the high tide on their business’ docks Thursday morning.

“Anytime we get a king tide, we know the parking lot is going to flood so we watch out for that,” Saltwater Cowboys Operations Manager, Michael Brown, says. “But of course, with the full moon and with the storm made it a little worse, but because we were so prepared, it really wasn’t that bad.”

Cleanup included scrubbing saltwater, removing large branches and seaweed, and organizing any patio furniture that moved from the high winds, requiring both Geechie Seafood and Saltwater Cowboys to open later on Thursday.

“Hurricanes are the opposite of advertising for seafood in general,” Geechie Seafood Manager, Kevin Suggs, says. “It always slows down, which is to be expected.”

Geechie Seafood’s parking lot looks normal as of Thursday, but on Wednesday night, it was completely underwater leaving their coolers for fish floating down Shem Creek.

That’s when the business asked for help from the community, saying small business is hard enough and coolers are not cheap!

“We’ve never had cooler float away like that before,” Suggs says. “They’re filled with ice pushed up against the wall, and then I put coolers filled with water on top of those and against them; even the coolers with water floated away.”

“I don’t know how that happened, it’s never happened before,” he adds.

Geechie Seafood ended up located seven out of ten of the lost coolers.

Both businesses say it could have been much worse and they are thankful for their loyal customers and employees for getting both businesses up and running again.

“Just talking to people today, seeing them come out; they were very patient and everyone’s been very understanding,” Brown adds. “Thank you to the team, our team is the best team in town.”

“We prepared a lot, so the damage was very minimal,” Suggs adds.