Czech Village Merchants Preparing for Flooding

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A handful of merchants in Czech Village have decided better safe than sorry when it comes to flood preparations.

Some businesses remembering the damage of 2008 began moving belonging either above the reach of the water or out of their stores Friday morning.

Nancy Schmucker, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics, lost her entire stock in the flood of 2008. This time she vowed not to repeat that experience and will sandbag her store and do cosmetics business from her home until the water recedes.

“I guess we didn’t realize what 2008 would bring us and now that we’ve gone through it, we’re scared and feel like we’ve got to get it out. That’s my feelings anyway, “Schmucker said.

A neighbor, Mia Suntken at Copper Alligator, also had her family helping her move inventory out on Friday. She wasn’t in business in Czech Village five years ago and didn’t personally experience what happened to shops there in the flood of 2008. But a few conversations with long time merchants convinced her to make the move.

“A lot of them were more like, just get it (inventory) out…there will be some water so I don’t know,” Suntken said.

The National Czech and Slovak Museum’s Kosek Building nearby was also cleared of items in the basement Friday.

Rob Merritt, Communications Director, said the secondary museum site currently houses a flood exhibit and offices. Museum leaders were worried about water backing up through sewers and not necessarily water in the streets. Volunteers and staffers moved storage items out of the basement and into a truck. Merritt said they’ll be stored away until the Cedar River starts dropping again.

“If the flood waters don’t come near us and we wasted today just moving things around, I think I would be totally ok with that—it’s much preferable to the alternative,” Merritt said.

Some stores in Czech Village were also stockpiling sandbags even if they were keeping doors open and belongings in place for the moment.

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