By Brian Thevenot
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Reuters) - At Paul's Seafood Market in Corpus Christi, right in the path of Hurricane Harvey as it closed in on Texas on Friday, owner Tom Stamatakis was surprised at how busy he was.
With Harvey expected to make landfall overnight as the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland in a dozen years, many residents of this beach city had left for higher ground. But others opted to ride it out, and a few even planned parties.
"It's pretty cool man," Stamatakis told Reuters at the market on Flour Bluff, in one of the first areas forecast to be clobbered by the hurricane. "I've been bagging five pound bags of shrimp all morning. I can't keep enough ice. There's no ice anywhere!"
Stamatakis, who said he had survived a few big storms during his 42 years in Corpus Christi, was staying put to protect his inventory in case the power went out. His stocks of shrimp, crab, crawfish, alligator, lobster, mahi mahi and tuna were worth thousands of dollars, he said.
"If everything goes badly we've got generators," Stamatakis said. "We've got a lot of inventory here and can't let it spoil. It's a family business."
As he spoke, Aldolfo Cuellar, 54, and Joe Miller, 36, both surfers from Corpus Christi, walked into the market and began asking about the price of oysters.
"We're just having a party," explained Miller, who said he lived nearby. "I've been through a lot of these. We're just going to eat seafood and watch the storm."
The pair had just come from checking out the waves.
"We're surfers," Cuellar said. "We're just waiting for the storm to pass so we can get back out there."
Apart from keeping an eye on his seafood, Stamatakis said he was staying in town to be with his 62-year-old mother, Alicia, who had no plans on leaving.
"She just likes to be here, plus the traffic is hectic," he said. "We stocked up good ... so if it happens, we'll be ready, God be with us."
(Reporting by Brian Thevenot; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Tom Brown)