Wyalusing Businesses Bouncing Back after Devastating Flood
By David Keeler
Mark Dietz and his crew at Wyalusing’s Century Farm Meats had good reason to smile Tuesday morning. “We’ll be up and running again tomorrow morning,” Mark said.
It was just a month ago that Dietz was standing in 20 inches of water inside his Route 6 business. “We lost all of our inventory,” Mark said.
During the month that the business was closed, Dietz kept his catering business operating on a limited basis and used other facilities to prepare food when they could.
He and his employees stripped away soaked sheetrock and replaced it. Mark’s son, Micah, said it was hard work. “I found out that I don’t want to be a carpenter,” he said.
Shortly after the flooding, Mark said he likely wouldn’t have reopened if he’d lost his equipment and a collection of heirloom recipes, but fortunately they were saved.
“We should be back pretty much to normal when we open tomorrow, although we won’t have our usual seafood inventory until later this week,” he said.
Century Farm Meats was among close to 20 locations along Route 6 east of Wyalusing Borough that were knocked out of business by the flooding. Some, like Century Farm Meats, are already back in business; others are looking at weeks before they open their doors to the public again.
Let There Be Beer
At Wyalusing Beverage, Bob McAndrew, who owns the business with his brother, Tom, said they were selling beer and soda again on Sept. 15, about a week after the flooding. “Everything is pretty much back to normal here,” he said.
D.G. Nicholas Reopens
It’s pretty much the same story at D.G. Nicholas Auto Parts where store manager Bill Faulkiner said his store reopened on Monday, Sept. 26. He said virtually everything in the store has been replaced. “We stripped the building down to the metal studs and put in new walls and a new ceiling,” he said, adding that the water level inside the store approached five feet. “It got right up to the bottom of this printer,” he said holding his hand next to a computer printer on a countertop.
ProCare, Car Wash Rehab Progressing
Dan Gamble and his brother in-law, Tony Adams, were putting up sheetrock inside the building that formerly was home to ProCare Physical Therapy. “This is a family thing,” Adams said. “We pitch in and work together.” Adams said it would be near the first of November before their building would be ready to be reoccupied. He said it’s been treated by GearClean, a flood restoration company that’s been busy in the region helping businesses get up and running again. Gamble said the water didn’t get as high during the ’72 flood as it did this time. “This building wouldn’t have flooded in ’72,” he said.
Gamble said the manual bays at his nearby car wash are up and running, but it will be awhile before the automatic bay is functioning. He said they will begin work to get the automatic bay functioning later this week. “We’re taking things one step at a time,” he added.
Clean-Up Complete, Restocking
Begins at Ace Hardware
Another business hard hit by the flooding was Wyalusing’s Ace Hardware, where Tuesday the store was pretty much empty. “We’re done with the cleaning and ready to start the put-back-together process,” store owner Mark Woodruff said.
Woodruff said the store is operating on a limited basis. “We taking orders for people and getting shipments again, but we don’t have items on display where people can just come in and buy things.” That won’t happen until near the end of this month, providing things progress as expected. The store’s propane tank refilling service is up and running as normal.
Woodruff said he expects new display racks to arrive Friday, and he’s hired a professional crew to come in and reset the store, a process that will take about three weeks. “The store will have an entirely different layout,” he said. Woodruff, like other business owners hit hard by the flooding, praised volunteers who worked hard to get his store cleaned up. “We had lots of help,” he said. “It made all of this a lot easier.”
Businesses Forced to
A number of businesses closed by flooding have moved to temporary locations until they can return to their former locations. Penny Hamilton, owner of Wyalusing Florist and Gifts, said Tuesday that she is operating from the Tuscarora Wayne Community Room at the Chamber of Commerce Building on Wyalusing’s Main Street. Call her business number, 746-4034, and it rolls over to her cell phone which is what she uses to conduct business. “We’re up and running again as far as providing flowers, but the gift part of our business remains closed,” Hamilton said. Replacing damaged sheetrock at her flooded store in the Wyalusing Creek Plaza has been completed, Hamilton said, but countertops still have to be replaced. “There are people a lot worse off than me,” she said. “I actually have a lot to be thankful for.”
Robyn Keeney Lacy is operating her Wyalusing Valley Children’s Center, a day care facility, in the former Wyalusing Elementary School. Robyn’s flood experience was unlike any other local business hard-hit by flooding—she delivered her first baby, Julia Margaret Lacy, a few days after relocating her business. “She came to work with mommy for the first time this week,” Robyn said Tuesday. It will be at least two weeks before Robyn is back at her former location. The former school is now owned by Tuscarora Wayne Group of Companies.
Other businesses forced to move to new locations by the flooding include ProCare, which is also at the former elementary school; Wyalusing Family Chiropractic, which is now operating at the Farm and Home Plaza, where Head Start was formerly located; Dr. Deirdre Huber said she expects to be back in her former office in two or three weeks, and the medical offices of Dr. Larry Linnell and PA-C Korie Lambert are now located at Memorial Hospital in Towanda.
No Power Slows
PenMart President Eric May said Tuesday that reopening the company’s Wyalusing store was held up by a delay in getting power restored. “We didn’t have any power until last Friday, (Sept. 30) and that really slowed us down,” May said. He added that the reopening now depends on when new cabinetry will arrive, which could make the reopening either two or three weeks away. The facility’s fuel pumps will be replaced and fuel sales will resume at the same time when the store and Dunkin Donuts reopen.
At Least a Month Away
It’s going to be at least a month until the popular Subway restaurant in the Wyalusing Creek Plaza reopens. “We don’t really know how long it’s going to be at this point, but I’d say it will be at least a month,” Art Green, who owns the business with his wife, Linda, said Tuesday. The Greens are working with Subway regarding a redesign for the store. Green said the Plaza owners Brett and Larry Fulmer are replacing waterlogged sheetrock in the plaza. The Greens will be replacing the restaurant equipment.
Status of Other
Peg Tyler told the Rocket-Courier Wednesday that she hopes to reopen her Genesis Salon in the Wyalusing Creek Plaza by early November. She said that sheetrock replacement is currently underway. “After that we hope things move quickly, but you never know,” she said.
Clay Milne’s Backstage Video is the only Wyalusing Creek Plaza business currently open, although on a very limited basis. “We’re offering Verizon cell phone sales and people can stop by to pay their bills,” he said, adding that the video rental part of his business is not yet functioning. He is operating his business on a cell phone which is set up so it will ring when customers call the listed business number (746-7751). Since he’s open on a varying schedule, Milne suggests that customers call to make sure when he will be open.
At Ted Burgess’s complex, the laundromat is up and running and work continues to restore office space in the former bowling alley, which suffered heavy flood damage.
A spokesperson at Peoples State Bank’s Route 6 headquarters, which was closed by the flooding and is operating from the bank’s Church Street office, said the bank would issue a statement in the future about when it planned to reopen its Route 6 office. Lobby and drive-up service are available at the Church Street facility.