Wilmington is Open for Business

The Cape Fear region took a hit from Hurricane Florence in September that caused a temporary disruption for many businesses. While there are still some lingering effects, we are happy to report that the vast majority of the community is back to normal, including our businesses, which are open and ready to welcome customers. Most of the flooding that occurred due to the storm was not in Wilmington or New Hanover County. While it may have been challenging to find a hotel room recently due to short-term housing needs for first responders who came to assist from outside the region, many hotels have rooms available now, and availability will increase each day.

While our business disruptions were minimal compared to many areas of the state, it bears pointing out that, nationally, more than 40% of small businesses don’t survive a disaster. Even temporary disruptions can seriously affect the bottom line of a small business, so please consider supporting our area businesses as we all continue to work through this recovery period.

If you are a small business that suffered damages and need help with recovery, below is a list of available resources to help you.

Hurricane Florence Assistance for Businesses

For those businesses that sustained damage during Hurricane Florence, there are resources available to help you recover and get back to business:

Businesses in New Hanover and the surrounding counties are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Learn more:

Disaster Loan Fact Sheet

SBA Disaster Assistance

Navigating FEMA and SBA Loans
One of the most comprehensive, step-by-step reviews of how the process works for FEMA grants and SBA loans

Thread Capital: Hurricane Florence Rapid Recovery Loans
This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses close the gap between when the disaster strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other disaster relief funds are approved. This is NOT a grant program. Bridge loans are not designed to be a primary source of assistance for small businesses.  Read more

Unemployment Benefits
Where people who’ve lost their income for storm-related reasons to register to receive unemployment benefits

Disaster Help Desk for Business
Get help navigating the recovery process:

Help Desk

Disaster Assistance

NC Small Business & Technology Development Center: Recovery Resources
Recovery strategies, access to capital, counseling assistance to businesses seeking federal disaster recovery loans.

U.S. Chamber Foundation: Small Business Recovery Guide
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has put together a step-by-step small business recovery guide, which includes numerous links and suggestions for a variety of scenarios.

Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance
This federal website allows you to apply for more than 70 forms of disaster assistance from 17 federal agencies.

National Flood Insurance Program
What to do after the flood.

Local Emergency Management Agencies
Regional updates on the recovery process.

New Hanover County
Brunswick County
Pender County
Columbus County


North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund
The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is currently accepting contributions for Hurricane Florence damage. Contributions will help with immediate unmet needs of Hurricane Florence victims. Donate here

American Red Cross
Financial donations may be made here, and in-kind contributions can be made here.

SBP Florence Recovery Fund
SBP is a national disaster resilience and recovery nonprofit whose mission is to shrink the time between disaster and recovery. Founded after Hurricane Katrina, SBP’s team understands that, after disaster, citizens are at risk of reaching their breaking point if there is no predictable path to recovery. Each of SBP’s interventions are designed to fortify people against reaching their breaking point by providing a prompt, efficient and predictable path forward. Donate here

Team Rubicon
Team Rubicon is 501(c)3 nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Founded in 2010, Team Rubicon has deployed across the United States and around the world to provide immediate relief to those impacted by disasters and humanitarian crises. Donate here

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
National VOAD, an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. List of national partners for financial donations can be found here.

View of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge from the River Walk


A diverse economy, bordered by river and ocean

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Man carrying paddle board over his head near the ocean


Year-round outdoor lifestyle, artistic diversity and historic downtown seaport

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View from the River Walk in Downtown Wilmington


Our people and our passions make it a great place to live

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Crew filming in front of a green screen at GEM Studios in Wilmington

Wilmington Business

With the state’s largest National Register Historic District, Wilmington has a keen sense of tradition and preservation, as well as a need to push beyond the conventional. The city leverages this balance to build the Wilmington business community and attract global corporations like GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Verizon Wireless, PPD, GE Aviation, and Corning. Companies large and small fall in love with the historic charm, quality of life, big-city amenities and skilled workforce.

Girl at the beach picking up sea shells

Wilmington Relocation

But don’t take our word for it, or anyone else’s. Experience life filled with balance and vibrancy, whether your passion is kayaking, antiquing in a refurbished cotton market, golfing on a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, sailing the Atlantic, or simply scouting a site for your business that your employees will love.

Women with short hair and glasses smiling at camera

Wilmington Economy & Cape Fear Future

Wilmington’s diverse, balanced economy, includes strong pockets of tourism, film making, pharmaceuticals and related industries, financial, retail, construction, service, education and government. To fuel the growing need for skilled workers, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s flagship initiative, Cape Fear Future, seeks to further develop the area’s knowledge sector economy to promote economic development and ensure the future prosperity of the region.

Cape Fear Future has three main focus areas:

  • Quality of life
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education/workforce development
Panorama of Wilmington and The Cape Fear River

Wilmington Accolades & Chamber News

We’re not just partial to Wilmington because we’re lucky enough to live here. In 2014, Wilmington was voted “America’s Best Riverfront” by USA Today and was ranked #5 on Forbes list of America’s Smartest Cities. In 2011, Outside Magazine named Wilmington “One of the Best Towns” and declared the area to be “The Next Big Thing.” Bloomberg Business Week ranked Wilmington “The #7 Most Fun, Affordable City.” Forbes rated the area one of the 15 best in the country for business and careers. And the accolades just keep coming… one of the 100 Best Arts Towns… Best Places to Launch a Business… Top 10 Recreation Cities.

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce works every day to strengthen the regional economy and enhance quality of life in the community by harnessing the collective vision and power of local business…so we can keep the accolades coming.