Small towns faced with businesses closing after the flood

DANNEBROG, Neb. (KSNB) - Across Nebraska, towns big and small are working to repair what once was before the flooding. When the water rushed in, the community of Dannebrog came together to clean it all up. But at least one business says it just isn't enough to stay open.

“I wish I could say yes but I don't see how it's possible,” Pawnee Arts Center Manager Roger Welsch said.

Welsch’s store sells artwork done by the Pawnee tribe. When the water receded enough for him to check on the store, what greeted him made his heart drop.

“That was shattering,” Welsch said. “When we opened this door, first we had to pry it open because it had swollen shut and when I opened the door and saw things on the floor, the muck, the water, the damage, it was just stunning.”

Other businesses in Dannebrog are still working to clear out mud and replace carpets and water heaters. The flagship grocery store just opened up for limited hours in the last few days and even they had to stop and decide if they wanted to open again.

“Well I was a little hesitant at first and it seems like everything just kind of comes down at once and you get kind of excited and you're not sure what you want to do and what not,” Kerry’s Grocery Owner Kerry Lauritsen said.

The popular bakery known for its pizzas, the tavern, and ice cream shop are trying their best to repair their storefronts.

“Small communities are tough,” Archer Credit Union Branch Manager Jason McIntyre said. “When you lose one business it's business that may never ever come back to town. So it's important if we can get help to them and keep everybody going here in town.”

Many did not have flood insurance and some are taking disaster loans to get back on their feet. The resounding conclusion all of the businesses say is that they hope nobody else will have to leave their blossoming little town.

“It's all the businesses combined and everybody is what makes a town. We have to have everybody,” Lauritsen said.

The credit union says they will be back in full business next week and the local gas station is just starting to take customers again. But it will be some time before the rest of the Main Street businesses can reopen.