STONE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - One of the most visible signs of damage from Hurricane Zeta in Stone County was in McHenry. A large part of the façade of McDaniel’s General Merchandise was knocked down.
But, despite the damages and lack of electricity, the store continues to serve the community. When an ice truck pulled up to McDaniel’s General Merchandise in McHenry on Friday, it drew the customers in.
“I happened to be driving by when I saw the ice truck pull up and I made a really quick U-turn.” said Perkinston resident Dennis Bankston.
Considering the damage that is visible from Highway 49, It would be easy for Bankston to assume McDaniel’s General Merchandise was not open. But, owner Patti McDaniel’s Saia has found a way to help her customers.
“I have a generator that we’re running and so we can run several lights and two adding machines, and that’s all we need to do business.” said Saia.
The store was doing a brisk business selling those things that people need most after a hurricane, and when the ice truck arrived, it got busier.
“Yesterday we sold several chain saws and parts and chains and oil and all the back up for those chain saws and then other stuff,” Saia said. “Of course we’re still selling lots of other snacks and hardware.”
The generators were moving out of the warehouse pretty quickly as well. As most people who know, will tell you, there’s nothing better than a hardware store with a good staff.
“McDaniel’s is a very reliable business,” Bankston said. “And the lady that owns it is very into the community, so if she can keep the doors open and help just a few people out, she’s going to.”
Saia said she wanted to be able to provide people what they needed.
“A lot of people just need things,” she said. “Tarps and nails and things to bind things down to temporarily cover something up until they can get the repair done for them so we get a lot of that here now.”
Saia asked every customer how they fared in the storm and most offered to help her clean up in return.
Saia said she had to use a chainsaw herself to get out of her driveway to come to work on Thursday. She said she also heard of scattered damage across Stone County, but things are not as bad as they could have been.
“Fortunately there’s so many people that have damage that’s fixable,” Saia said. “They’re still living in their homes, they’re waiting for the power to come back on which, the crews are working great. They’re getting power back on really very rapidly. As a whole, I think the county did well, just going to need some help getting it cleaned up, that’s the main thing.”
Hurricane Zeta also ripped several metal awnings away from the store and threw them into the woods behind the store leaving just one on the roof.