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Smokerz Outlet employees work to clean up flood damage

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ALEXANDRIA, Mo. (WGEM) — Businesses along the Mississippi River clean up from a big mess. Employees said they’re just trying to get back on their feet after a long three months.

Employees at Smokerz Outlet are calling it a disaster zone.

“Well this is our third flood in the last three months,” Smokerz Outlet General Manager Sherry Ramirez said. “We got pretty close to seven and a half, eight feet of water inside the store.”

Employees said water was up to that piece of tape, leaving behind a huge muddy mess.

“It did a lot of damage,” Ramirez said. “A lot of damage to our counter tops, we’re going to have to replace all of our counter tops. A lot of damage to all of our display cases, going to have to get all new ones made. Damaged our beer cooler, probably beyond repair this time.”

Ramirez said beyond all the product they’ve lost, they’re also losing money in other ways.

“It’s been horrible,” Ramirez said. “We’re putting more money out to our workers than we actually have coming in because we’re trying to keep all our workers, so we’re giving them hours. Running two to three people a shift when we don’t need that many people.”

That’s why employee Austin Wilkins is doing everything he can to contribute to the clean up.

“We started working on this about two to three days ago,” Wilkins said. “Started off with about two feet of mud in there, now we’re down to just squeegeeing the water out and power washing.”

Ramirez said this flood season did more damage than they anticipated.

“For the whole three months, I’d say between revenue and loss of product and damage to the buildings, probably looking at over a million dollars,” Wilkins said.

She said there are doubts during times like this, but she knows the clean up will be well worth it.

“We were like are we really going to open this store? But with the money that comes down through here, you can’t afford not to,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez manages US 61 Oil across the street as well, where they’re also dealing with a lot of damage. She said she hopes to open US 61 Oil by Thursday or Friday. She said it will be weeks before they can open Smokerz Outlet.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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