Elkader business recovering from flood; more prepared - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Elkader business recovering from flood; more prepared


By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Unusually warm temperatures have caused something of a winter thaw - with several inches of melting snow turning to water. Of course, when temperatures go up, many people think back to rising flood waters last year. Elkader was just one of many communities hit hard last June thanks to a snowy winter and wet spring. Still, business leaders continue to recover from that flood, while preparing for another.

The Turkey River is known a landmark in Elkader. It's also known as a calm river. But it's calm winter day's like Saturday that remind everyone the power of this river.

"I still have moments where i wake up and wonder if it was real," said Frederique Bouddouani, owner of Schera's Restaurant and Bar in Elkader.

Standing on the back deck of Schera's Bouddouani and co-owner Brian Bruening still can't believe the Turkey River nearly swallowed their restaurant.

"The whole flood experience has really helped us to rethink things and its' been for the best," said Bruening.

In June the business suffered $250,000 worth of damage. Its basement -- then filled with food, beer, and appliance for their restaurant -- was completely underwater.

Within a month and a half - one side of the restaurant was back open. And it's been functioning this way ever since.

"You can't rest for a moment. Been working to improve the restaurant, improve advertising, recover from the floods," said Bruening.

But as the ice on the Turkey outside melts, the two say they've been thinking about the possibility of rising water.

"I started thinking about spring, last summer," said Bouddouani.

But they're taking action -- putting everything in the basement on wheels, limiting food and appliance to one room -- and yes -- even keeping these sub pumps on stand-by.

"Our 5 year plan is to get to the point where we no longer have any infrastructure in the basement. When there is a flood we can just open he doors and let it come in. And clean it up once it goes down," said Bouddouani.

And while the Turkey stays down, and calm, these two say Schera's will drown no more.

"This is now our community and our state and we will do everything it takes to make it work," said Bouddouani.

Schera's owners say they received money from Iowa's Jump Start program to help fund the clean up. They say this time around they're doing things more "green."

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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