Just to take you back, like many others, I was distractedly clinking my way round Costco stocking up for the Hogmanay celebrations, when a frantic call came from the Milton shop. It was just after midday and Lynda informed me that the River Dee was as high as she'd ever seen and it had burst it's banks. I had seen on the news in the morning that Storm Frank had affected Ballater but I didn't think for a minute that we would be in any danger. I quickly set off to the shop, Prosecco, peanuts & profiteroles bouncing about in the back of the van. On arriving at the Milton of Crathes, it was shocking to see the water already flooding The Wee Boorachie pretty badly. It had just reached the doors at the burn side of our building but still, I was confident it wouldn't come into the shop.........20 minutes later it was seeping under the doors.
|Starting to come in the door...|
|....45 minutes later|
The speed at which the river rose was frightening. On my hands and knees trying to disconnect all the cables that run the computer while water was lapping at my feet made me feel like I was in a low budget disaster movie.
|Just about at the highest level|
|The last pic before we abandoned ship|
We had to leave the shop at 4.30pm as it was dark and getting dangerous wading about in bum-deep water. I don't think the impact of what had happened really hit home until the next day. The water had totally receded and it was like it had never happened (apart from all the devastation).
|The flooring was forced up by the water|
The building then had to be stripped back and allowed to dry, which took around 4 months, then the refit could begin. I finally opened the doors in mid June, the shop isn't fully opened but I needed to get trading again. I have realised that, since speaking to customers old and new, the loss of stock is what concerns most people, but honestly that is the thin end of the wedge. The stock is the quantifiable, replaceable thing, what is truly devastating is the loss of business. Suddenly there is no revenue coming from the business, the staff lose their jobs and you have no income and the longer it goes on the worse it impacts the business. Rustiques at Inverurie also flooded in January, with the water table rising the basement flooded continuously for 8 weeks! We were able to trade but the whole region seemed depressed and subdued by what it had just gone through.
As time has gone on, it has became apparent that the business couldn't survive with the revenue from the Inverurie shop as trade was decreasing week on week. This has lead me to make a decision. As I desperately try to get the Milton shop fully operational with its new improved workshop and demo areas, I need to put all my efforts (and what energy I have left!) into it and make it successful again, so sadly, I am closing the Inverurie shop. Frank & the economic downturn was too much for my wee business to cope with.
A heartfelt thanks to my nearest and dearest family who have got me through these past 6 months. I also want to thank all who shopped at Inverurie, please come and visit us at Milton! Lastly, to "my girls", the staff who put up with my disorganised chaos and kept the shop looking great, we can say we tried.