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South Slope businesses overcome challenges to reopen

As power returns to the area, businesses on Asheville's South Slope are not in the clear just yet. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

As power returns to the area, businesses on Asheville's South Slope are not in the clear just yet.

"We were able to save all of our inventory but did lose a day and a half of revenue," said Kyle Beach, the general manager for Buxton Hall Barbecue.

He said that works out to more than $8,000, not including the wages and tips lost for his employees.

Buxton Hall was hardly alone in its plight.

From restaurants, to chocolate shops, to breweries, it was hard to find a business not affected by downed power lines on the South Slope, the area of downtown Asheville that includes banks and Buxton.

"It was a ghost town yesterday. Surprised we didn't see tumble weeds," said Luanne Price, of Catawba Brewing Company.

She said Catawba was able to open for a little while with limited power but ultimately decided to close early.

A day later, it's a different story.

"We're ready to go. We're all restocked up. It was the perfect day," said Price.

Another brewery affected was Green Man.

While restored power allows the business to brew again, a spokeswoman said it will still take some time to complete the entire brewing process.

"Really, it's just checking on each tank, making sure that our temperatures are coming back down or back up, depending on what part of the process we're in, making sure our tiny little connections are back and running," said Elizabeth Keil, Green Man Brewery's marketing director.

It wasn't very different for the folks at French Broad Chocolates, though there was a bit of good news for cofounder Dan Rattigan.

"We finally got this melter back up and running, so it's looking good. And we're about ready to get the rest of them online," said Rattigan.

He's also thinking about the future.

"Our walk-in coolers don't have backup power yet. I won't let that happen again," he said.

All of these changes are the result of Irma's wind and rain knocking down trees which in turn took out power lines.

"It's pretty surreal because we cook overnight most nights, so I'd say about six-seven days of the week the hood's always on, the buildings always running. It feels like a machine, so when you come here without power, it's very quiet," Beach said.

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