Small Businesses Devastated by Flood Find a Way to Carry On

Nov 17, 2015

When the historic floods hit the Midlands in October, many small businesses, like many homes, were inundated. Ceiling-high waters in low-lying areas would seem to ruin the businesses for good. But the owners are fighting back.

Radenko Pavlovich, co-owner of the Columbia Classical Ballet, has temporarily relocated to a local mall to conduct rehearsals while he works with insurance companies and FEMA. Likewise, Dr. Nori Warren of Four Paws Animal Clinic is operating out of temporary quarters while planning a return to her flooded clinic, from which only a few stainless steel tools were reclaimed. Both owners are determined to rebuild, and tell how they have been aided by the kindness of friends and strangers alike.

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Pavlovich and the Columbia Classical Ballet received help from many, including competitors like the Columbia City Ballet, which offered rehearsal space for the displaced troupe.  Eventually, the group found a temporary space at Richland Fashion Mall and even raised over $20,000 through a crowdfunding site to help rebuild the studio space.  It's going to be a long road to recovery; the cost to clean and disinfect the interior of his building was $38,000 and the paperwork needed to file through FEMA was 180 pages long.  Still, the dancers and Pavlovich are remaining positive and hope to reschedule a canceled performance.

Dr. Nori Warren and the staff of Four Paws Animal Clinic found themselves in a similar position after the historic flooding.  The entire clinic, including x-ray machines, was ruined when flood waters inundated their facility.  Veterinary offices around the country offered help and supplies and the clinic was able to move into an old dentist's office to set up a temporary home.  Luckily, many of the patient records were salvaged from back up servers off-site and the staff remain committed to the clinic which feels like a home to many. 

Both of these businesses were largely underwater when flood waters overwhelmed Columbia on October 3rd.  When the rainwater did finally recede, the future looked uncertain. Here’s is an earlier report from October 5, 2015.