This post was amended from its original form to correct the relationships in the Earp family. The Record regrets the error.
Saturday’s tornado destroyed Earp’s Seafood Market, a South Saunders Street landmark for more than 40 years. The family said this week they will rebuild.
The market lost its roof when the tornado made its way through south and east Raleigh.
Nancy Earp Salmon – whose father, Herbert, and mother, Mary, founded the market — said she hopes that Earp’s will open again soon.
Nancy learned Wednesday from the insurance adjuster that they will likely have to rebuild, but she said he told her he is not sure yet.
Nancy’s contractor told her it will take two months to rebuild. Nancy said she is trying to maintain a positive attitude despite all that is going on.
The market had been in business 43 years as of March 29.
David said they were getting ready to put up a sign commemorating the years in business right before the storm hit.
David learned of the storm’s impending arrival on Saturday when he received a phone call from his daughter. After taking a look outside, Salmon directed employees and customers to the back of the store, warning them of the storm.
He said there were about eight customers in the store at the time.
David said customers didn’t seem to realize the seriousness of the situation until they saw a woman with two kids banging on the glass door and then they lost power. David let the family inside and then herded everyone to the back. He said the storm lasted about 15 seconds.
“I was praying to God this store would hold together, and no one would get hurt,” he said.
Hunter Hornback was one of those inside that day with his son, Jackson, 5, his friend, Wes Wright, and Wright’s son, Stockton, 3. Hornback said that during and before the storm store employees were “very concerned about everyone in the store’s wellbeing.”
Hornback said that the store lost power and that when cinder blocks pulled away from the building to reveal the daylight from outside, “That was when everyone realized it was quite severe.”
Hornback said his wife makes fun of him for driving 25 minutes for seafood.
“It is a well-known establishment,” Hornback said of the market. “There are probably people that have grown up going to that establishment and have a lot of memories. I know my son has a memory after this.”
Herbert Earp started the market with just $50, said his daughter, Nancy, who also worked at the store for 15 years. She said Earp used to peddle fish and produce and say “he would love to have a fish market.”
Herbert later went to work for a bottling company for 18 years, and when the work became too strenuous, he decided to go into business for himself.
Mary Earp, Herbert’s wife, later took over the business when Herbert passed away, and has since fallen ill, leaving son-in-law David to manage daily operations.
Nancy said Mary, who learned of the tornado through the news, was very upset. Mary was unable to comment for the story, but her granddaughter, Kimber Salmon, said this in a Facebook message of her grandmother: “My Grandma Earp always taught us to stay strong and pull together.”
David said that many have stopped by, called, and left Facebook messages of support for the store.