While it will take time to assess the full extent of flooding damage to Columbia businesses, some areas have clearly taken a devastating hit, according to Carl Blackstone, CEO of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
“The hardest hit right now looks like businesses along Gills Creek Watershed—Trenholm Plaza at Forest Acres, then down Fort Jackson Boulevard at Devine Street and on Garners Ferry. Those are pretty hard-hit places,” said Blackstone, who assessed the area on foot Monday morning. “We’re trying to ascertain how many businesses have flooding but we know the impact is huge.”
Some businesses at Fort Jackson Boulevard and Devine Street are a complete loss, according to Blackstone.
“A couple of businesses right on Devine – the Subway and Jersey Mike’s – have total devastation. The Subway was totally gutted. You walked in there and couldn’t even tell that was a restaurant two days ago,” Blackstone said. “Smashburger, Moe’s and Applebees also had water damage.”
Also hard hit was the new Rosewood Crossing shopping center.
“PetSmart, Michaels, Marshalls all got flooded,” Blackstone said. “It’s sad. That place has really seen a resurgence and this knocked it back. ... We’ve never seen the flooding that we’re seeing out at Garners Ferry.”
Vista-area businesses and restaurants did not take a direct flooding hit, but are struggling to operate now without clean water, according to Fred Delk, executive director of the Columbia Development Corp.
“I am driving through the Vista right now, and virtually everything is closed,” Delk said. “Five Points is about half and half. In the Vista, there were minimal issues related to flooding. In Five Points, the flooding was generally on Saluda Street near Blossom. I did see a number of businesses there in the Loose Lucy’s area that had flooded and the Walgreens had flooded.”
In Lexington, most restaurants were closed, but most other businesses remained open and some sustained slight damage, according to Connor Watkins, multimedia strategist for the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce. Businesses that were impacted were those located in Lexington’s Old Mill at 711 E. Main St. that were affected by the dam break at the Old Mill Pond dam.
Old Mill Brewpub, located upstairs in the Old Mill building, was not damaged, said Doug Seidenstricker, the restaurant’s manager. But because other parts of the building were damaged, the brewpub will likely close for two weeks.
Tips for small businesses affected by floods
▪ Document any damage to your business with photos and video.
▪ Protect your property from further damage, but hold off making permanent repairs until the claims adjuster can come to your business and assess the damage. Be sure to save receipts for what you spend on repairs.
▪ When the claims adjuster comes, be ready. The more information you have about your damaged property – descriptions of the items that were damaged, when you purchased them and what they would cost to repair or replace – the faster your claim can be settled.
▪ Use social media as well as your company's website to keep up with customers, vendors and your employees. Let them know if you are opened or closed and how to reach you until things return to normal.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business