A year after Tropical Storm Lee hit our area with near record rain and flooding, some business owners are still struggling to get back to work. Some have shut their doors; others are still trying to recover.
A year wasn’t long enough to erase the damage from massive flooding that swamped the region a year ago today.
Tropical Storm Lee moved in with torrential rain and left people bailing out several feet of water from their homes. That high water was too much for one longtime business owner to overcome.
“Well, hopefully I can just restart, start from scratch,” said Frank Kline, owner of Marlboro Office Supply. “That’s my plan.”
The flood stains are evident throughout his business, which is going out of business.
“Nobody around here had flood insurance,” he said. “That kind of did everybody in.”
All of his equipment was leased except for one machine, which still sits in the empty shop, soon to be removed once he closes the doors.
“I feel like leaving it sit there so I can just remind myself of the day we got flooded.”
For almost three decades, Kline and his wife operated three successful shops, and although they were offered loans to rebuild and release equipment, the duo couldn’t justify taking out additional loans to cover the flood damage.
“I’m sitting there thinking, I already owe all this money out, what am I going to, pay for it twice?” Kline said. “It just didn’t make any sense. So I figured it probably be just better right now just to totally go out of business.”
The Klines weren’t alone. Ten locally owned stores have had to close their doors for good since Lee hit.
Across the street, Marlboro Tire got the worst of the flood water.
“If it wasn’t for employees and friends and families and just a determination to stay in business, we wouldn’t be here,” said Brian Kress, of Marlboro Tire.
He and his father will stay and business, but they are looking for another location. It’s too stressful for them every time it rains.