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Real Flood Stories: Heavy Rain and Snowmelt Almost Drowned Their Dream

MAN: This is our livelihood. We have 31 years here. This place is our life; it means a lot to us.

WOMAN: People love to eat on the water. The outside, we seat 120 people outside, and close to 40 inside; we have a 20-seat bar. Being on the water, being away from the hustle and bustle of the street – it’s magical. You’re under the stars and you’re on the water. It’s the best.

MAN: Our greatest asset is our greatest threat. It’s somewhat dangerous financially living right next to the river, but the river is what draws the people in. The river is beautiful; it’s what creates our atmosphere.

We opened the business in 1976. We did not have flood insurance. I had no intentions of buying flood insurance – it hadn’t flooded since 1955. I thought that was just… history. We went to the bank to apply for a line of credit, and the bank told us that we had to buy flood insurance or they wouldn’t give us a credit line. It kind of annoyed me: I didn’t want to buy it. I argued with them about it – and we bought the insurance.

The water is usually as you see it now – it’s probably about a 16- or 18-foot increase from where it is now till it gets up to the top of our wall. It destroyed our business two times. We rebuilt it two times. The water was up to probably about two or three feet below the bottom of the bridge. I believe it was just about up to the top of this rail. That translated inside to water over the top of our bar and water up over our knees inside the dining room. When you first walk in and you look at it and you see the devastation of the building, it’s just absolute mayhem – it looks like a bomb goes off. You don’t know what you’re gonna do; you don’t know where the resources will come from to rebuild it.

WOMAN: The flood insurance coverage was something that we knew was there. It surprised me how well they did support us.

MAN: The fella showed up here within 48 hours and gave us a check and said, “Here, get started. Do what you need to do.” The amount of money that the flood insurance has paid us, I think it’s made the difference of us choosing to rebuild and stay in business. The people that did not have flood insurance were very vocal about not having any help – “What am I gonna do? I’m going out of business; everything is ruined” – because they were devastated by it.

WOMAN: The cost is so much smaller than many other things that you lose that it’s worth the peace of mind to have flood insurance.

MAN: It makes all the difference in the world. I cannot imagine what people whose homes are destroyed go through. Flooding in our business is bad enough, but when I would drive home, I would see my neighbors going through in their homes what we were going through down here. Even living on top of a hill, it seems that it’s a good idea to have the flood insurance.

WOMAN: Flood insurance is a very important aspect of being responsible for your property.

MAN: It's comforting to know that when it happens that you have those resources to put it back together.

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