Ten days after a malfunctioning sprinkler system caused a flood of more than three feet of water in the basement of the Gates Briggs Building, businesses in downtown White River Junction are helping each other recover, but it’s a tough climb.
Numerous businesses were affected directly. The flood is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ruined food, equipment, clothing, and other items that numerous businesses had stored in the basement; expenses of cleaning the thick layer of mud and silt; and lost revenue due to businesses being closed until the clean-up is completed.
Furthermore, all downtown White River Junction businesses are suffering as news of the flood has been keeping patrons away even from stores and restaurants that weren’t affected. And this is after two years of pandemic and a summer of disruptive street construction.
“We’ve survived COVID together, every business in White River, I feel like we can survive anything at this point, it’s just a matter of being really tired,” says Justin Barrett of Piecemeal Pies, one of the affected businesses. Throughout it all, neighboring businesses have supported each other, he says. “Kim [Souza, owner of Revolution clothing store] made us shirts back during the pandemic that say, ‘White River Junction – We Might Just Make It.’ We wore those last week while doing cleanup.”
Help those businesses truly “make it” by:
- Visiting the many White River Junction businesses that have already reopened or were unaffected by the flood
- Purchasing gift cards, contributing to a Tuckerbox Gofundme, or engaging in other efforts to help individual businesses; and
- Showing up for First Friday on September 2, 5 to 8 pm!
- Support this crowdfunding campaign to support White River Junction businesses through The Local Crowd Upper Valley
True to form, Kim Souza responded quickly to the challenge in many ways, one of them being a call for the community to purchase gift cards to closed businesses to provide them immediate monetary support while they work to get their doors open once again. For her, the path forward is one of confidence. “I think what we’ve seen is that the Upper Valley does show up,” she says. “It’s a very collaborative business community and certainly very resilient, you gotta roll with things and you gotta be patient and everyone is doing their best and working as hard as they can,” she says.
Agrees Justin, “We wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for how amazing our community is, it means a lot that we can lean on them, that’s why we’re here.”
It’s clear that these businesses care about the entire community in White River Junction, whether it’s through their dedication to paying employees through clean-up and subsequent closures, or about their motivation to bring their goods and services to all of us in White River Junction. Says Justin, “We wake up every day, our goal is just to provide a great daily experience for the community and it comes at a cost but that is why we do this and why we fight to survive COVID, and endure construction, and clean up after a flood.”
Purchase Gift Cards
Buying gift cards is an easy way to give businesses revenue for goods and services you’ll get later. Here are links to gift cards for businesses directly affected by the flood:
- Tuckerbox, a restaurant serving Turkish and Mediterranean food: Buy gift cards
- Piecemeal Pies, a restaurant specializing in British meat pies, hard cider, and espresso drinks: Buy gift cards
- Flourish Beauty Lab: Buy gift cards
- Open Door Integrative Wellness, a studio for integrative wellness and movement studies: Buy classes
- Revolution, vintage & consignment apparel, upcycled accessories, antique housewares & more: Buy gift cards
- The Collection, used and vintage clothing and accessories: Buy gift cards
Other Ways to Help
Tuckerbox was hit particularly hard due to water damage sustained to their restaurant’s cold storage. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of specialty foods were lost as well as a new 19-foot refrigerator/freezer.
In addition to purchasing Tuckerbox gift cards, you can:
- Contribute to the Gofundme campaign to help Tuckerbox
- Shop at or buy gift cards for Little Istanbul, also owned by Tuckerbox owners Vural and Jackie Oktay, and pick up some of their clothing, accessories, spices, or jewelry.
Coordinated community support can help these businesses recover from the flood, and we want to be a part of it. We all rely on each other, and it’s something that has become even more apparent over the past several years. When our businesses thrive, we all benefit – whether it’s from handcrafted products, delicious food, or health and wellness services, what these businesses bring to the community can’t be understated.