Ravaged by flood waters, WV businesses work to rebuild economy

GREENBRIER COUNTY (WSLS 10) - FEMA approved more than $28 million in aid to help parts of West Virginia after a number of counties were ravaged by flood waters.

It's not just the area that needs rebuilding, but the economy as well.

On a normal day at Cook's Country Kitchen, you hear and smell the kitchen at work. Management says on average, they serve up to 220 people. But because of the floodwaters, the restaurant remains empty.

"We actually went to the other side of the building because the propane tanks kept hitting over here," recalled Dana Payne, owner of Cook's Country Kitchen.

Now, that's the least of Payne's concerns.

"Well I've been closed since the 23rd and my business operates on a daily basis on how many people come in," explained Payne. "So, I've had absolutely zero income since the 23rd."

That also goes for Payne's 17 employees are volunteering to help mop up the mess.

"Tuesday, we actually went through and repainted the tables because we scrubbed them so hard we got the paint off and had to repaint them," said Payne. "We have to wash every dish, every piece of silverware, every plastic tub, and everything that food could come possibly close to being in."

In some areas Payne said she had close to 5 feet of water inside her business. Waterlogged drywall and cabinetry had to come out.

Since her doors shut, she's lost nearly $50,000 in revenue and that's not all.

"Financially I lost everything in my walk-in and freezer," Payne told us. "I just got an order in that Tuesday. In just those two areas about $7,000 and that doesn't count any dry goods I've had to throw away."

She's not alone. The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security states nearly 125 businesses were lost.

"If we're not able to get our businesses back up and running, if we have a very slow, dry tourist season and go into the winter when those months are sparse anyways, it will be very difficult for these small business owners to stay in business," said Heather Falls, the executive director of the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce said the county has lost thousands of dollars in revenue. Many business owners are left trying to work at the task ahead, cleaning up.

Cook's Country Kitchen is working to reopen July 22.