Businesses still trying to recover from floods

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Downtown businesses affected by last week’s flooding are still dealing with the aftermath of one of the worst rainstorms in the city’s recent history.

Electro Music owner Butch Johnson said there was no damage to store merchandise, but tiles were buckling up and loosening due to the one-inch of water that covered his floor during last Wednesday’s floods.

Johnson picked at one of the green floor tiles in his store on Monday, demonstrating how easy it was to remove. He estimated the cost to repair the floor would be in the “thousands of dollars.”

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“It was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we’ll probably never see something like it again,” said Johnson. “At least I hope we never see something like it again.”

Wednesday’s rain showers were a rarity in Greenville. Parts of the city’s drainage system were completely overwhelmed, with flash floods blocking streets and county roadways during the approximate four inches of rain that fell on Greenville within an hour’s time. The downtown area was hit especially hard as water collected beneath the train underpass on Commerce St. and spread outwards, creating a body of water that invaded storefronts as far as Q-94. On Monday, doors at Goodwill were blocked open and fans were scattered throughout the building, drying the carpeted floor. Employees reported at least three inches of water inside at the height of the flooding.

Next door – and on higher ground than Goodwill – Majors Floor Covering faired better. Owner Billy Jack Majors said when the waters started to rise he prepared for the worst.

“But it never got in here,” said Majors. “We were lucky.”

Had the city received substantially more rain – similar to the 12 inches Montgomery was pummeled with in early May, storms that killed one man and chased the Alabama Legislature out of session – Johnson said he would have shut his doors completely.

“I would have went ahead and retired,” he said.