WILMINGTON- WW Building Supply on Route 100 will celebrate its grand reopening this Friday and Saturday, nine months after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene swept over the North Branch of the Deerfield River and submerged the retail building and parts of the lumber yard.
“Everything was under three feet of water,” said WW owner Ed Druke. “We had to take everything out, strip the walls back, and redo the inside.”
“It was an emotional time,” added Terri Druke, who is Ed’s wife and a partner in the business.
It took the Drukes and the WW staff six months to get the building cleaned up, remodeled, and ready for business. The store has been open since February, but this week is the grand reopening, where all the hard work can be celebrated by staff, contractors, volunteers, and the community.
The festivities start Thursday evening with an invitation-only appreciation reception for contractors and volunteers who helped clean up WW in the days after the flood. On Friday and Saturday a variety of activities are planned. There will be live radio broadcasts, special sale items, and lots of drawings for free prizes. Those giveaways include a seven-piece patio furniture set, a barbecue grill, a pressure washer, a line trimmer, and a self-propelled lawn mower.
The Drukes were very thankful for all the assistance they had from volunteers who helped clean up in the days immediately following the flood. They were also proud of the WW employees, who played a major role in the cleanup and rebuild of the store.
“”It was very tough for the employees,” said Terri Druke. “But we never laid off a single employee.” Ed Druke echoed that dedication to their staff, saying that they were able to keep 40-hour work weeks as well.
Part of what allowed WW to keep the staffing levels more or less normal, aside from the cleanup of the Route 100 store, was the business’s two other locations. The Route 9 West store in Wilmington, formerly Deerfield Valley Supply, became the go-to store for staff and for the local community in drastic need of materials for the post-Irene reconstruction efforts. The Drukes said they felt fortunate the Route 9 location was spared from the flood-waters.
The third WW Building Supply location, in Newfane, was also damaged by the flooding, but not to the extent of the Route 100 store. Ed Druke said that most of the flooding in Newfane occurred outside in the lumber yard. The retail store saw about three inches of water, which the Drukes were able to vacuum up immediately after the flood waters receded.
“There was a foot of mud in the yard,” said Druke. “And there was two feet of silt in front of the door in Newfane. But by the next morning, a volunteer with a bucket loader had come and cleared that away. We were back up and open the next day.” He also commented on how difficult it was getting from Newfane, where he and Terri live, to Wilmington. He drove through open streams and across the downed iron bridge in South Newfane to get to Wilmington.
Terri Druke said they really haven’t had a chance to put a dollar figure on what the business lost in the flooding. She said they were just happy to have the store reopened, and thankful for all the help received in getting back to business.
On Friday and Saturday, the community will get the opportunity to celebrate WW’s reopening as well.