Business Continue Clean-Up Work

ST. MARYS — When water began flowing over the floodgates of the St. Marys Trading Co., Owner Larry Kramer said he and his help had less than 10 minutes to get everything they could out of the basement of the building.

“Our building was equipped with floodgates, but the water came over top, and once the water comes over the floodgates, there’s not much you can do,” he said of the day of the flood a year ago. “We went from dry floors to chest-deep water in less than 10 minutes time.”

Kramer said he saved what he could, but a slew of merchandise, tables and other fixtures were ruined in the flood. Kramer said a lot of effort was put into trying to save as much as he could.

“My son came up with kayaks just trying to see if they could salvage anything down there,” he said.

Three months of night and day work went into getting the St. Marys Trading Co. to a more dry state.

“We literally worked 24 hours a day,” Kramer said. “We took water hoses, dry vacs, squeegees — we did everything we could to get it dry.”

Kramer said merchandise was moved from room to room as they cleaned the floors and walls of the basement.

“We also had to worry about bacteria and molds,” Kramer said, noting that they used bleach cleaners to kill any bacteria that was left.

Kramer estimated that he lost approximately $25,000 worth of merchandise.

“That $25,000 worth of stuff is what I threw away,” Kramer said. “I still have stuff that I’m cleaning.”

Since the flood, Kramer has kept a room full of merchandise that is covered in mud or is water-damaged that he is hoping to be able to restore and sell.

“We’re still cleaning up stuff a year later,” he said. “I just had to wash the mud off an item that was purchased (Monday) morning.”

Down the street from the St. Marys Trading Co., Albert’s Sporting Goods Owner Kay Albert said his store also encountered the quick onset of the flood. Albert said his store began seeing water come in through the garage door in the back of the store. Albert’s Sporting Goods Graphic Designer Christine Ring was working the day of the flood and said the water came in quickly.

“We just could not move things fast enough and we didn’t have enough help,” she said.

The store keeps its inventory in the basement, in addition to all its equipment to make custom orders. The water rose to knee-deep, Ring said, and employees worked to get as much as they could out. Albert said the water even flowed into another storage area that is elevated off the basement floor.

“This flood was the first time we had water up here, and we had about a foot,” he said.

Despite the employees’ best efforts to save as much as they could, Albert said the store still lost approximately $18,000 of merchandise. In addition to the lost merchandise, Albert noted that the store encountered other costs because of the flood. He had extra help cleaning the basement and borrowed space at the theater to move inventory out of the way, in addition to replacing some fixtures and equipment.

“It ruined our furnace and we went quite a while without heat, so we had to get some temporary heaters,” Albert said.

He noted that the store also lost business because it could not operate at its fullest capacity. Cleaning up the mess the flood left has been a long process, Albert said.

“It’s a long process when you get moisture into bricks and there may be some moisture remaining,” Albert said. “We’re still dealing with moisture.”