November 15, 1999
DUVALL--Three years ago, it was water coming down from the ceiling that forced Don and Jill Lawrence to relocate their antique store. Last week, it was "same song, second verse," as a deluge of silty rainwater surged into the back of their store on Main Street.
Jill came upon the scene Wednesday morning when she arrived to start the day. As she opened the door, a torrent of muddy water gushed out onto the street.
Checking around, she found that the water had come from the adjacent property, which had been cleared for a proposed housing development. When part of the soggy hillside fell into a drainage ditch, rainwater was diverted to the area behind the buildings and then flowed inside. All the buildings suffered some water damage, but the Lawrences' Tuxedo's Junction appeared to be hardest hit.
"There was two to four inches of water inside," Jill said, surveying the damage. "Everything had to be moved. But after going through it (yet another crisis) again, I was reminded of why we came to Duvall. People here are compassionate and caring and again came to our aid. It was a real outpouring of support."
Fortunately, the couple was able to quickly rent some empty space a couple of doors down the street that they will use to store undamaged or salvageable inventory.
Julie Lemery, the Lawrences' insurance agent, was on the scene most of the day. She said the contractor working on the property next door was "very responsive to the situation and was working in the rain to repair the drainage system."
As far as the inside of the building goes, Lemery said the floor needs to be dried out thoroughly and cleaned, and the carpeting has to be replaced, as well as the lower foot or two of walls.
"But the biggest chore will be sorting through everything," she said. "There are hundreds of thousands of items--much of them glass--that need to be sorted. What can't be cleaned will have to be thrown away."
Lemery also gave a lot of credit to the townsfolk and especially the antique dealers in town for helping during the crisis. "Dozens of people showed up to help," she said. "Businesses sent down food and drinks for those who were cleaning up and people stopped by to see if more boxes were needed."
The Lawrences have been at the Main Street location since their other store, the Hook and Ladder, which was below the former Coast to Coast store, suffered water damage after the big snowstorm of Christmas 1996 collapsed the roof over the building.
Jill said she expects the business to be closed for at least a month. "And it's the beginning of the Christmas season, too," she said.