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The Great Flood of 2011

Just when you think your ship has come in, life takes a sudden turn for the worst. The time frame was the first week of September. We were eagerly awaiting the opening of Aldis grocery store and the added business that it would generate, then the rains began. Hurricane Irene primed the rivers and streams with 2 to 4 inches of rain. Then the remnants of Hurricane Earl began his assault. Between 8 and 12 inches drenched our area in 24 hours, a quarter of our yearly average rainfall. The results were not surprising, devastating flash flooding followed by record river flooding  caused massive destruction. Our neighbors to the West in Owego were virtually wiped of the map. Here at 4 corners, we thought we had made it through the worst. While our parking lot partially  flooded, the stores were high an dry.  The river had crested and began to drop, I figured we had made it through and planned to open the store in the morning. Instead, water began flooding into the plaza.  Come to find out that the levee behind our plaza was overtopped and pumps failed. We frantically moved up all the product we could and sandbagged the doors. While this effort helped immensely,  a foot and a half inundated the store. We lost 23k in product and the store was destroyed. As soon as we could with an army of friends, family and customers, we emptied the store in 3 days and put all of the salvable product into secure storage. From the bad comes the good, our landlord, Ramour and Flannigan, then came and put a beautiful  brand new store in for us. I invested in new shelving and computers and thus began our climb back up the hill to recovery. One solid week of 16hr days and the store was filled with product and we were ready for business. On October 28th, after almost 2 months of being-closed, we reopened for business. Our first week open, I didn’t know what to expect but the support from the community has been amazing. The lesson for all businesses is when you treat your customers well through the years, they will return. Its not always about price, its about the relationship you form with customers which keeps them coming back in no matter what. Recouping the losses will-take years but we are off to a good start. There are may business through the area that will never reopen and we are greatful to have an opportunity to make a go of it again.

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