Gulfport businesses hope to keep flood waters out this time

Business owners brace for more flooding

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It could be a nightmare scenario for some Gulfport businesses. In April, they were devastated by floods that nearly closed them down. And with heavy rains coming through this week, it could happen again.

Right next to Flat Branch Creek, you can see businesses are doing what they can to get ready. On Wednesday, sandbags were lined up across the front in hopes of preventing what happened not quite four months ago.

Melissa Fischer, owner of Melissa's Bakery, was devastated in the last flood. She said there was enough warning to stop renovations from the last flood to get sandbags to prevent another.

"It put fear in my bones," she said after hearing about the upcoming storms. "And I've been kind of watching it. And fearing and finally deciding that today that we are going to get our sandbags."

The flooding last April was devastating to these businesses in Gulfport. What followed were weeks of repair and cleanup and tens of thousands of dollars in damage to both equipment and loss of revenue.

"We tried our best to just keep our heads high and do as much as we could."

This time, she's hoping for the best, but she doesn't want to go through it again.

"I'm hoping God takes care of us and everybody around us and we don't get this rain. But if we get it, I'm fearful."

John Kunellis owns The Ice Cream Corner next door. He says he got 19 inches of flood water.

"The cleanup was brutal," he said. "It took a couple of weeks to get reopened. It took a couple of months to get the store back to normal. And at my age, it was more energy to do the cleanup than I want to put out."

However, he's not overly worried this time.

"I've been through more catastrophes than I care to think about," Kunellis said. "And if another happens before I'm out of business, oh, well."

But it's given Fischer pause.

"I do know that if it floods here again like it did in April, I may have to move because I can't just keep being out of business for this period of time."

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