Cori’s Twin Gables Bar and Grill in Marthasville was one of the unfortunate few buildings to be affected by this month’s flooding. Water filled the basement of the building on Highway 47, ruining equipment and damaging the flooring above. The water even damaged the structure of the building.
Owner Cori Simpkins said she has been overwhelmed with the support she has received from the community since then. Volunteers have been at the restaurant almost every day making repairs, with nearly enough hands to run rotating shifts.
“Everything was stripped down to nothing,” Simpkins said. “They resupported all the original structure, they rebuilt the walls, and they redid all the floor joists.”
The long list of friends, customers, employees and community members who have given their time to get the restaurant up and running again are “the most unbelievable people in the world,” she said. “It’s an absolutely overwhelming feeling when 15 or 20 people show up with tool belts on, ready to fix the world for you.”
This wasn’t the first time the building has flooded — damage was still left over from previous floods before Simpkins and her husband, Terry, bought the business in 2015, she said. That old damage is part of the major repairs being done in the building.
It likely won’t be the last time Twin Gables floods, either, which is why its owners are moving the electrical and HVAC systems into the second floor instead of keeping them where they were, in the basement.
When they received word water was threatening the restaurant, volunteers came with trucks and trailers to help move out coolers, freezers, kitchen equipment and furniture, saving $30,000-$40,000, Simpkins said. A portion of the remaining repair and replacement costs will be covered by insurance, but Simpkins said they don’t yet know how much.
But those costs certainly are far less than they could have been, thanks to the work of volunteers like Jim Murrell, a regular at the restaurant who said he came to help the people in his town.
“There are 18 employees here, nine of them it’s their only paycheck,” Murrell said. “We’re a small town. We all got to look out for each other. That’s how we roll around here.”
He and many of the other volunteers are builders or tradesmen by profession. Others have donated food and drinks for them while they work.
“Not a single person here is worried about getting paid,” Murrell said.
This was the first major flood Cori and Terry had been through since taking over the restaurant. As the waters began rising, they relied on the advice of experienced business owners in the area. When S & R Convenience Center across the highway began removing equipment, Simpkins said they knew it was time to do the same.
With work now progressing to put the restaurant back in order, the doors will hopefully open for business again sometime around Memorial Day, she said.