Main photo: This April 24, 2019 aerial shot of businesses adjacent to the Muskoka River in downtown Huntsville shows flood waters encroaching on (from left) On the Docks Pub, Algonquin Outfitters, The Wooden Penny, Christmas Tyme, That Little Place By The Lights, and affogato café. Water levels have since returned to normal. (Photo: Dan Pinckard)
The high waters may have receded, but local businesses affected by flooding in Huntsville are still feeling the effects of road closures, reduced traffic, and, in some cases, water damage.
In an effort to remind people that downtown Huntsville is open for business, and that shopping local helps out local people, the Downtown Huntsville BIA is launching a flood support campaign and contest this Sunday, May 19.
Anyone who shops at one of the downtown businesses affected by the flood—That Little Place By the Lights, Wooden Penny, Algonquin Outfitters, affogato café, Christmas Tyme, Pizza Pizza, On the Docks Pub, Boston Pizza, Dental Hygiene with Dezarae, and Moose Delaney’s Sports Grill—between May 19 and June 2 will be entered into a draw for the chance to win one of three $100 Downtown Dollar gift certificates. (Two other businesses affected by the flood, So Many Looks and Darrach Denture Clinic, will remain closed for a few more months.)
Shopping at any other store or restaurant in downtown Huntsville during the campaign period will get you an entry into a draw for the chance to win one of two $50 Downtown Dollar gift certificates or one of four $25 Downtown Dollar gift certificates.
“These businesses are economic driving forces and they could use your help during a time like this. A lot of them were closed or affected by the flooding,” says Morgan Richter, manager of the Downtown Huntsville BIA. “Show some support for our local business owners before the summer starts.”
At the height of the flooding, like in other areas across Muskoka, business owners, staff and residents were helping each other out.
Just off Main Street, staff at affogato café say they jokingly credit Margarite, the carved bear that sits outside, with keeping the flood waters at bay—the water reached Margarite and went no further. They also appreciate the efforts of a nearby business owner, Catherine Cole of The Great Vine, who took pictures late at night showing the height of the water and sending them with a note that said, ‘you’re okay for the night, you can sleep tonight’.
Across the river, Dezarae Aldridge-Earl is grateful for the support of business neighbour, Dan Barkwell of Moose Delaney’s, who is “someone who looks out for you and messages you when he thinks your business may be in trouble due to rising waters even when he is not the landlord and it’s Easter weekend; he is someone who will continue to check in with you and see if there’s anything he can do to help, even when his own business sits 8″ under water,” she wrote on her company’s Facebook page.
And Moose Delaney’s got an uplift from Boston Pizza, who brought them pizza to keep them fueled up for the clean up.
Gemini Hair Studio and Day Spa owner, Jaime Mason, offered space to Tanya Blain after her John Street salon had to close temporarily due to a flooding-related power issue.
Others filled and stacked sandbags, helped to move product, or offered moral support. And now that the river is back to flowing within its banks and most of the affected businesses have reopened, they’re hoping that the community will support them, too.
The Downtown Huntsville BIA flood campaign runs from Sunday, May 19 to Sunday, June 2. Follow their Facebook page for updates and announcements.
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