Flood of business: With epic spring rains, storms and floods, it hasn't exactly been 'business as usual' in Southeast Missouri

Monday, June 20, 2011
Crews from Servpro of Cape Girardeau and Scott Counties worked in a once-flooded home on June 6, extracting water from carpet and spraying antimicrobials to prevent mold development. (submitted photo)

It's been almost two months since heavy rainfall dumped over a foot of water on Southeast Missouri, flooding roads, homes, farmland and businesses. Though much of the water has receded, local businesses are still dealing with water damage and mold growth.

"So much water came so quickly that it basically flooded our roof, which then came down through the ceiling and damaged a pretty big area, including a couple of walls and the ceiling," says Dr. Greg Pursley, a Cape Girardeau chiropractor with an office in Doctors' Park. "Consequently we had to redirect all our equipment to the opposite side of the building. It got a little hectic."

Pursley's office required a new ceiling, carpeting and walls in the water-damaged areas, and work was nearly complete by early June. He adds that during the flood, patient volume decreased by 20 percent, as people were trapped by flooded roads or addressing damage in their own homes. Pursley says he and his staff remained positive, and he's already installed overflow drains on the roof to prevent future flood damage.

"I'm just trying to look at the bright side of things. It was annoying, but we also have some new paint on the walls and it looks nice," says Pursley. "No one got hurt. It could have been worse."

Meanwhile, businesses like Servpro of Cape Girardeau and Scott Counties have seen a higher demand for cleanup services.

"We are much busier than usual," says Rob Stephens, director of marketing at Servpro. The Cape Girardeau office called in teams from throughout Missouri and Western Kentucky to help with flood damage, and put all "nonessential" work, like duct work and carpet cleaning, on hold, he says.

"We still had an awful lot of fires happening in the area during the rainfall, and we're just now getting caught up with those," says Stephens. He expects to remain busy with flood cleanup for months to come.

"As the water has gone down, we've had a lot of mold form in our area," he says. "The biggest problem is that most flood damage was not covered by insurance, and homeowners are having to do the work themselves. It's very expensive to deal with mold."

David Taylor, district manager of Midwest Basement Technologies, says his crews have been working longer hours to help flood-battered clients, whose biggest need is basement collection systems. The business, which covers Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky, normally has six to eight leads per week, but since the late-April rainfalls, it's been more like six to eight leads per day, says Taylor.

"I've added one guy to my crew. So far, everyone has been very patient with us," he says. And though more manpower would be helpful, says Taylor, the job requires extensive training, and it's tough to find extra workers on the spot. "It's not the easiest stuff in the world. It takes time to build up a crew of trained professionals," he says. Still, like Pursley, Taylor says things could be worse.

"There's still cleanup to be done. Just driving around and looking -- there are towns that have been devastated, and they're still in the process of cleaning up -- but we have made progress," he says.

Mac Con Co. has kept busy rebuilding what was destroyed in the storms and floods.

"We've done a lot of roof repairs. A lot of people lost multiple shingles off their roof. We're also doing a lot of cleanup in basements, and gutter repair," says Nikki Stallion Brewer, vice president of Mac Con Co. and its sister company, ZanneCo. Inc. "Luckily, we have a really good work force to pick from as far as extra labor."

Brewer says the business is also working with property owners to address future flooding problems before they begin.

"With spring rains, we really emphasize to people that they should service their gutters on a quarterly basis, because a lot of people who ended up having damage from all the storms and rain -- it could have been prevented," says Brewer.

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