Madison businesses hit hard by flooding recover a year later

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Businesses on and near Odana Road in Madison are looking back at their journey to recovery one year after being devastated by historic floods.

Located on Odana and backing up onto a retention pond, The Camera Company had to shut doors for repairs for a whole month.

Ward Lundgren, co-owner of The Camera Company, said he never anticipated the rain amounting to what it did.

"Around 5 o'clock, I went to the backdoor, looked at the retention pond, and I saw the water keep rising and rising and rising," he said.

Lundgren said they started taking items off the shop floor, but that wasn't enough.

"When we got here the next morning, we had over two feet of water in the store, total devastation, and that's when the whole process of cleaning everything out and rebuilding started," he said.

Lundgren said because of the water, they had to tear out drywall and carpet, and rebuild.

"We lost, I''m guessing, somewhere - 250, 300,000 dollars of inventory. Plus we were closed for a whole month, so we lost the revenue from a month of sales," he said.

Even when the shop reopened, it wasn't all back to business as usual.

"It took a little longer than I thought for people to come back in," Lundgren said. "I think a lot of people assumed that we were closed."

However, throughout the process, Lundgren said he was grateful for the help they received from the community.

"They'd call us or come in and stop, say hey, what can I do to help you out?"

Nearby, Schwoegler's Park Towne Lanes also felt the love of loyal customers after the water destroyed their lanes.

"We had customers volunteering their time for that first month doing all the demo," said Robert Bloxham, Field Supervisor for King Pin Management. Bloxham called that support received the "silver lining."

Bloxham said seeing bowling pins floating around the facility was one of the most jarring scenes.

"It was heartbreaking. We didn't know what to do, what to expect, we had no clue what the future held" he said. "Rebuilding costs were right about 1.2 [million dollars]."

The floods forced the bowling facility to close for three months.

"It's extremely exciting when you get to go through a remodel like that, it's not as exciting when it's forced upon you," he said.

Bloxham said the remodel comes in time, however, for Schwoegler's celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year.