Shut down by Floyd, area businesses lose thousands

By Lynn R. Parks

In the wake of hurricane Floyd, owners and managers of businesses in the Sussex Plaza, US 13, Seaford, are totaling their losses.
Overflowing retention ponds around the shopping center flooded the parking lot and poured water into several of the stores. In addition, entrances and exits onto US 13 were covered with water and Herring Run Road was closed at its eastern intersection with US 13.
Access to the center, which includes Wal-Mart, was through Beaver Dam Heights only.
"We had a lot of items destroyed," said John Harris, parts specialist at Advance Auto. "We had about 6 inches of water in the store."
The auto parts store was forced to close its doors at noon on Thursday and did not reopen until 8 a.m. Saturday.
"Water was coming in the front door, in the two side doors and in the back door," said Harris.
He added that workers had not yet completed an inventory of damaged items, but that damage costs "will be in the thousands."
Crystal Urena, a stylist at Hair Clip, said that workers at the beauty shop lost about 40 percent of their week's business when four inches of water covering the floor forced the shop to close.
Closed all day Thursday and Friday, the shop reopened Saturday morning.

"There was water everywhere," said Urena. "Our rugs were damaged and the floors are just a mess. When we came in on Saturday and moved the chairs to clean up, water just poured out of the bottoms."
Shannon Jerman, an employee at Applebee's, said that water was only about an inch away from getting into the restaurant. "We had water in the boiler room and on the back deck," she said.
The restaurant was closed Thursday and reopened Friday at 4 p.m. Even then, patrons were asked not to park in the parking lot, but to use the drier grassy strip between the restaurant and US 13.
Jerman said that the restaurant suffered no damage. However, general manager Toby Jarmon said that losses in business totaled "close to $10,000."
But Danny Tartt, co-manager of the Wal-Mart store, said that business before and after the storm more than made up for losses incurred when the store closed Thursday at noon. It reopened 12 hours later and on Friday enjoyed an "increase in business," he said.
Tartt said that the store closed "in the interests of the safety of our associates. We wanted them to be home with their families." Since opening in Seaford three years ago, the store has been open nearly continually, closing only in celebration of Christmas. Unlike other stores in the center, Wal-Mart experienced no flooding in its building. "Except for a few leaks in the back, no water got in here," said Tartt.
Tartt said that Herring Run Road reopened at 1 p.m. Friday and the entrances and exits on US 13 were clear of water by "late Friday or early Saturday. People ask me what we did to get rid of the water, but we didn't have to do anything. It all just drained away."
Tartt added that he "appreciates the cooperation we received from the city and from the state department of transportation. And I also appreciate the reaction we saw from local merchants. Everybody was willing to help, everybody pulled together.
"And the mayor and city manager were out checking on people and on businesses, surveying the whole city. That just amazed me. I was really impressed."
Daniel Swartzentruber, weather observer for NOAA, reported 10.58 inches of rain fell on his Greenwood location during Thursday and Friday. plant.