Evergreen merchants open for business in wake of floods

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Downtown Evergreen businesses want people to know that they’re open for business.

Most lost between one and five days worth of revenue when they were closed during the flooding that began Sept. 13. The proprietors are hoping that locals will frequent the shops and restaurants to help make up the difference.

All downtown shops and restaurants are open again except Evergreen Clothing Co. on the east end of downtown and Cactus Jack’s Saloon on the west end.

JP Total, CJ’s Chicago Dogs, Twigs and Mountain Gypsy all sustained damage but have reopened.

The Tin Star Café and Wildflower Café never closed.

About a dozen business owners said living through the storms and flooding that closed downtown Evergreen elicited a range of emotions. Once the natural-disaster concerns subsided, then they worried about the impacts of being closed.

“We are all recuperating from the mental anguish,” said Janice Stutters, owner of Seasonally Yours. “We could have lost all of our businesses.”

Stutters said the flooding was a wake-up call, and she has envisioned a “Plan B” — what she would do if her shop suddenly were gone.

Gary Newsbaum from Zuni Signs said the business was closed for a day out of respect for law enforcement requests that people stay away from downtown because of the flood danger.

“Most of us (who work at Zuni Signs) have been in town most of our lives,” he said. “The flooding was unprecedented.”

Closed by the rain

Jim Sherwood had to close the Evergreen Clothing Co. because of flooding in the store associated with the rain, not Bear Creek overflowing. He hopes to reopen by the end of this week.

“Basically, the carpet, floorboards and part of the drywall were saturated,” Sherwood said. “At one point there was an inch or two in the store. It completely destroyed our printer and cash drawer. It’s very, very wet and musty.”

In the meantime, Sherwood’s other store, E-Town Outlet, which sits right on the bank of Bear Creek, sustained no damage from either the rain or the burgeoning creek. He and his employees transferred the merchandise from one store to the other.

“This definitely hurt all the businesses,” he said. “Even though Evergreen as a whole was not affected like (places farther north), we still took a pretty good hit financially.”

Damage to other businesses

The JP Total landscaping business, which sits along Bear Creek on the east end of downtown, finally reopened a week after the flooding. Bear Creek flooded on the east side of Evergreen the morning of Sept. 13 and again on Sept. 15, and JP Total owner John Peiff said he had more than 4 feet of water flowing through his building and the parking lot.

But Peiff has found a silver lining. His building is cleaner than it has been in a long time, and he’ll be forced to replace old computers and a 16-year-old carpet that he says should have been replaced long ago.

He said it was strange to watch the water flowing through his business, and he ran four sump pumps and a shop vac to try to keep the water under control.

The National Guard built a cinderblock wall in front of the building and used sandbags to try to stem the flow, but it didn’t do any good.

He says he didn’t have flood insurance, but he considers himself lucky compared with others farther north in Colorado where things are much worse.

“Things like this are out of our control,” he said. “Our family and friends are safe, and that’s what really matters.”

CJ’s Chicago Dogs also sustained damage to the ceiling tiles in its building, thanks to the rain. Owner Chuck Fanaro closed two days before Bear Creek overflowed its banks and reopened on Sept. 15.

He said being closed hurt his cash flow, but things are getting back to normal.

On the west end of town, children’s consignment store Twigs and a new store called Mountain Gypsy women’s clothing had a few inches of sewage in their building thanks to the flood.

Both are in the building on the southeast corner of the Highway 73/74 intersection. The owners said they were able to clean and disinfect their stores, so they could open their doors again.

“Last Tuesday, we put everything in the store on the front lawn and bleached the entire store,” said Bill Rickert, who co-owns Twigs with his wife, Christy. “Random people walked by the store and stopped in to help.

Mountain Gypsy owner Pam Davis said she got a friend to help her carry everything out of her store. She did a lot of cleaning, brought everything back and was back in business.

Feeling lucky

Other store owners in downtown Evergreen are feeling lucky that they didn’t sustain damage, and while they were closed for a few days, downtown Evergreen is getting back to normal.

Diane Florschuetz at the Muddy Buck said it was heartening when customers stopped in to make sure everyone at the café was OK.

Eliot Zizic, manager of Creekside Cellars, took a video of the water flowing outside a basement window. The water was close to the top of the window, and he said everyone in the business just hoped that the window would hold. Luckily, it did.

Evergreen Crafters owner Susan Fariss said her business didn’t sustain any damage, but she was heartened by the number of people who stopped by or called to see if everything was OK.

“It makes you feel good,” she said. “I’ve lived here 37 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.

Shirts raise funds for recovery efforts

T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies touting that Evergreen residents and businesses survived the flood are now available, with proceeds above the cost of making the items going to those in need, including businesses that sustained damage.

The shirts were the idea of Jim Sherwood, owner of Evergreen Clothing Co. and E-Town Outlet, and are available at E-Town Outlet in downtown Evergreen.

They say, “We survived the flood — Friday the 13th, 2013. Evergreen, Colorado. Give where you live, work and play.”

The store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Road flooding closes TallGrass Spa for four days

TallGrass Aveda Spa & Salon, located 5 miles west of Evergreen on Upper Bear Creek Road, was closed for four days primarily because the road had flooded and was closed by Jeffco authorities.

TallGrass reopened on Sept. 17, and because water was still flowing across the road in some spots, the number of clients in the spa was limited for a couple of days.

The spa’s laundry room and storage room suffered some flooding, according to owner Gail Ridings, who said the business was fortunate because the damage was minor.

She said staff who could get to the spa spent the days calling clients to reschedule appointments.

“Even on Tuesday, you could barely see parts of the road under the water,” she said. “Frankly, if you’re going to spend money to relax, you don’t want to feel like you’re putting your life in danger trying to get here.”

Things finally returned to normal, Ridings said.

“We lost six days of revenue,” she said. “As awful as it is for the business as a whole, that’s not my big concern. It’s for our hourly employees. If they’re not working, they don’t get paid.”

Ridings, like other Evergreen business owners, hopes local residents will shop and eat local to help them recoup their losses.

“We feel like we’re getting back to normal,” she said, “and that’s good for the whole community.”