"Flood kitty," Tennant dubbed one of the breakable items that miraculously survived 17-foot-high rising water that destroyed so much of her 35-year-old shop, Discoveries, and the upstairs apartment where she lived, knocking out the storefront, submerging the basement and ruining thousands of dollars worth of porcelain dolls and other goods.
After four months of raking out mud and rebuilding, Tennant joined 70 other business operators on the historic street Saturday for the official reopening of downtown
"This flood's not going to dictate to me how I live my life and get me down," said Tennant, who opened about half her shop Saturday thanks to help from volunteers. "It's an act of nature, and I'm a resilient person. ... There is no place like
About 70 of 90 businesses have been able to reopen in former or new locations, said
"We've gone through a tough almost four months, but today is the day we demonstrate and show everybody around the country the resiliency of the people of
Still, much rebuilding is left. Visitors peered into storefronts to find gutted buildings with partially exposed cinder block walls, and many former shops and restaurants remain boarded up. Others, such as Tea on the Tiber, a Victorian tea room and gift shop, and Southwest Connection & Silver Arrow Fudge Shop, have "coming soon" signs in windows. Yet others have decided not to reopen.
"We've been here five years, and we love it," Symms said, tearing up. "This is where I shop every year for Christmas. It was devastating to see the loss."
The flood dumped eight feet of water inside Cottage Antiques, destroying all but the front of the building, washing away almost all of the Christmas inventory and sports memorabilia, said owner
"Insurance covered nothing, which was devastating to us," Jett said. "We felt like we were just throwing our lives in the dumpsters. But we weren't going to let it beat us, and we just came back and just worked and worked and worked, and here we are now, almost four months later and open with new paint, carpeting and new showcases, and we're going to make it bigger and better."
Shoppers in the antique store included
"I lived here when [Hurricane] Agnes hit, and I remember what happened then," Buell said. "It was just so awful to see this town get hit again. It's great that everyone's pitched in. When I heard the actual official reopening was going to be this weekend -- we always do the Small Business Saturday -- where else could you go?"
"And now I have watched it come back to life," she said before the ribbon cutting. "It is such a blessing, and I know not everybody's open, and my hope for places like Bean Hollow and stores that are at the bottom of the street is that when they open, we will greet them with the same enthusiasm."
(c)2016 The Baltimore Sun
Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.