FLORISSANT, Mo. – The floods from three weeks ago left a lot of home and business owners alike struggling on their own to manage and clean up.
Small business owners in Florissant said they are struggling to keep their businesses afloat after their stores flooded. More than a dozen businesses at Florissant Meadows Shopping Center are closed, and they are still cleaning up water damage to this day.
“Because of the flooding, we’ve been unable to open and to really host classes here at the Sew Hope Community Sewing Room,” said Kacie Starr Long, owner of Sew Hope Community Sewing Room. “We’re losing revenue, and we’re also unfortunately not really being able to serve as a place for the community.”
Starr Long just opened her business back in March. She had to close because of the amount of flood water.
“We received over 16 inches of rainwater that entered into our building. So we just need like a complete restoration,” she said. “Our walls are going to have to be replaced. We’re believing that some sewing machines have also been damaged.”
She’s had to throw away several hundred yards of fabric. But she said she’s had to help with cleanup from volunteers, and right now the landlord has sent a restoration company that removed the flooring and replaced the dry walls.
Despite all that’s happened, she’s staying positive.
“We’re committed to getting back and being able to open for the community,” Starr Long said.
A few doors down from her business is iDeal Furniture. Owner Nader Qasem said 95% of the furniture had to be thrown out – that’s over $180,000 in products.
“I think over two feet of water, and it stayed there for a whole day. We got here around 7 a.m., and we couldn’t get in until 4 o’clock. I opened the doors, water started running out,” he said.
The businesses have a landlord responsible for removing the drywalls and floors and taking care of electricity. But they don’t have flood insurance.
“We didn’t have flood insurance just like everybody else here in the same plaza. We didn’t know we need it, and whenever we bought our insurance nobody told us, ‘Hey, it’s recommended,’ because this and that,” Qasem said.
Despite the losses, just like Kacie, he’s determined to start over.
Melissa Ingram, the owner of Issa Lifestyle Health and Wellness Yoga Studio, is struggling to grasp the amount of damage.
“We have so many unanswered questions, we don’t know the process of what to do after something like this happens. Fortunately, homeowners do have assistance but that’s not for us small business owners,” she said. “And I think it’s important to make the public aware that if we are not able to continue our business, we too will lose our homes.”
Ingram opened the space six months ago. She lost priceless pieces of art, products, and all yoga mats. She not only used it to run a business, she also homeschooled her kids from here.
“Any personal items are just gone. We have no way of getting that back, and so that’s what I mean when I say I don’t know where to begin or if I’ll be able to get back from this,” she said.
But she’s trying to stay optimistic and hanging on to hope.