Business owners optimistic after flood

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vicki Trimble, owner of the Hardy Geranium, scrubs the floor of a back room, trying to get mud and dirt left over from the most recent flood on Friday. - Eric Johnson/

Although they may have gotten a little wet two weeks ago, businesses on and near the intersection of East Oakland Avenue and Fourth Street are emerging from the flood of 2010 relatively unscathed.

Hardy Geranium, Budget Oil, Stuttgart Travel & Tan and Triple J Auto Sales were all underwater by Sept. 24. Most of the businesses managed to get all of their holdings out of their locations.

Vicki Trimble, the owner of Hardy Geranium, said she and the staff were able to get almost everything out of the store before the storms really hit, including some of the plants outside.

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According to Trimble, only the basement flooded, with the first floor receiving about 6 inches of water, which means the building’s electrical workings and flooring needs to be replaced.

Items from the office of Triple J Auto Sales sit outside Friday as owner Dan Wilson cleans up inside from this last round of flooding. - Eric Johnson/

“I just have great volunteers,” Trimble said, explaining that about 20 volunteers showed up to help the store before the flood. “The volunteers this time were wonderful. We had more volunteers that weekend than we ever had.”

The flower shop has only closed its front showroom; all flower services, including deliveries and weddings, are still going. In fact, according to Trimble, she did two weddings the weekend of the flood, down from three weddings she did the weekend of the 2008 flood and another three during the flood of 2004.

Triple J owner Dan Wilson said he got about 2 feet of water in his office, which is much better than the past couple of floods he’s had to clean up after. This time all he needs to replace is the flooring and the insulation in his walls, a task as of Friday afternoon he was still working on.

Cashier Casey Merten said the Budget Oil gas station had about 2 1/2 feet of water inside during the flood, but everything that could get moved out of the store was. The only damage, according to Merten, was the store’s wooden doors took on water, making them warped. Since they had an excuse, Merten said store workers scrubbed and washed everything off, giving the store a good cleaning. They were open by Sunday, Sept. 26.

Stuttgart Travel & Tan’s office was still closed Friday afternoon, and a phone call placed to the business confirmed that, while the office remains closed, the owners are taking messages.

Each business counts themselves lucky the damages weren’t more severe. Although most damage estimates won’t come in for another couple of days, Trimble said she figures she might pay about $15,000 in total damages.

When asked why they didn’t move to higher ground, each business gave more or less the same answer: They didn’t want to move from such a prime location and the money the city was offering to buy their land wouldn’t be enough to sustain their business elsewhere.

“I’ll just take my beatings and move on every four years or so, I guess,” Wilson said.