Three weeks after a flash flood poured through Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village the only sign of distress visible on the exterior is a little extra dust on the roads and walkways.
Visitors meander through the cobblestone maze enjoying the village as if the storm Sept. 10 hadn’t washed cars into statues and forced businesses to close.
Behind the stucco walls, however, recovery continues.
James Cecil and his wife, Candace Peterson Cecil, lost approximately $10,000 in sales and merchandise Sept. 11 and Sept. 12 at their business, The Secret Garden Cafe, James Cecil said.
Since Sept. 14, Cecil said they’ve been forced to close their doors at 2:30 or 3 p.m. each day rather than 5 p.m. for repairs to be made to the building costing them an estimated $500 to $1,000 per day.
The work on the building is being done by Tlaquepaque, the owner, and not directly costing Cecil any money.
Loss of income, however, is coming right out of the business’s bank account. According to Cecil, their insurance company doesn’t cover natural disasters. However, if a loss was caused by a bursting pipe rather than a flood, they’d be covered.
Sedona Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff said the Small Business Administration will be setting up shop in the chamber’s offices to help business owners. Their staff will be in the chamber offices in the mornings and out in the community meeting with business owners in the afternoon.
Assistant City Manager Alison Zelms said last week the state was working on a request of individual assistance for economic impact for businesses through the Small Business Administration that
businesses would have to apply
If the money is a grant, Cecil said he’d be interested. If it’s a loan, he’s not.
While Cecil wasn’t able to recover in time for Fiesta del Tlaquepaque, the village as a whole was cleaned up and ready to go Sept. 12.
People were confused, Wesselhoff said, and thought Sedona had been devastated by the flood but chamber staff worked diligently to get the word out that the fiesta would go
on and Sedona was open for business.
The chamber sent out press releases to state media outlets and used social media, including its Web site, Twitter and Facebook.
Wesselhoff said the communications let visitors know business would be open Sept. 12 specifically mentioning fiesta even though chamber staff knew most businesses would probably be closed Sept. 11.
People called in the first few days inquiring about the situation, according to Wesselhoff, but concern about travel to Sedona has died down quickly.
“When things happen like this that are national news there are times that we feel a ripple effect,” Wesselhoff said meaning people are concerned long after the fact. That didn’t happen with the flood and she attributes it to the chamber’s proactive campaign to get the word out right away.
Water damaged the walls around Cecil’s cafe requiring remediation, or cleaning the wall cavities and resealing them. New drywall, paint and a new floor is also necessary, according to Cecil.
When the floor’s repaired, Cecil said the cafe will be forced to shut down completely, which will probably happen in November during the slow season.
Cecil estimated the building repairs to cost $75,000 to $100,000 when the work is completed.