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Davenport business owners reflect on flood recovery, share why they didn’t leave downtown

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Business owners are reflecting on flood recovery more than five months after dozens of stores, restaurants and bars ending up flooded back in April.

On October 1st, Crafted Quad Cities opened in a new location two doors down from their old location on 2nd Street.

Owner Mary Talbert says shes happy to expand her space and says she never wanted to consider moving her shop out of downtown Davenport, even as business slowed for months following the historic flooding near 2nd and Pershing Streets.

"We had a tough few months," said Talbert when asked about being a business owner in downtown Davenport. "It continues to grow and while we had a major devastation this spring with the flood, I think the reality is it's going to keep getting better down here."

Now, Talbert says she is looking forward to inviting local shoppers in to parooze the artwork she has for sale from more than 130 (mostly local) artists in her shop, and to attend craft sessions.

She also says she is going to think about flooding differently in the future.

"Everyone did rely on that wall and I think going forward businesses are going to have to have a backup plan ready to go," said Talbert.

Other businesses, like Front Street Brewery Brew Pub and Eatery, have plans to open in late October. They have been working on renovating the space, according to owner Tim Baldwin.

A couple of other local businesses, like ROAM bar and restaurant, have announced that they will be unable to bounce back after being directly impacted.

There are also new businesses that are opening in the once flooded area.

Theo & Co., a men's apparel shop that opened on September 25, originally planned to open in May 2019. Flooding delayed those plans as well.

Still, the owner, Anne Stopulos, said she is excited to open in the downtown area and said natural disasters like flooding can be inevitable.

"There was growth and then the flood kind of halted things," said Stopulos.

Now, she hopes local shoppers are ready to get back out and support the small business owners this Fall.

"They were shut down for a couple months and so they’re really making up for lost time and lost sales and I think its really important to go out and support local now more than ever," said Stopulos.

She is also excited to know that city leaders have been able to communicate with small business entrepreneurs like herself who are now able to get back on their feet.

"Every sale counts for us. So, making sure that were safe and we're not impacted again is what were leaving all of our trust in the local officials to do," said Stopulos, "I think local government and officials have done a good job of listening to people."

Both Talbert and Stopulos say they're also looking forward to welcoming more new businesses to the area in the coming months.

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