Four local business owners had a rocky, and wet start, to the New Year after their building was flooded Jan. 1. The flood was caused by a leak in a water line in the upstairs unit occupied by Hidden Escape Beauty Boutique.
“Our salon had a couple inches of water in the whole salon,” Hidden Escape owner Lilly Hummel said. “There was even a mat floating.”
The other affected establishments were 406 Beauty and The Beehive, the latter of which incurred the most significant damage. Beehive owner Julie Birk shared a video New Year’s Day showing flooded floors in at least an inch of water, with more water still dripping from the ceiling.
“There was water in the light fixtures,” Birk recalled.
One of her employees went to the salon earlier that day and opened the door to find flooded floors and smoke emanating from the room.
“Nothing caught fire but it was definitely a smell,” Birk said.
Business owners scrambled to salvage their furniture and other possessions, and word of the event spread quickly. Among the first on the scene to lend a hand was Gary White of Denny’s Bigfork Barber and Beauty Shop. His son’s girlfriend was employed at one of the lower units, so he responded to help move furniture, and anything else they could grab, to drier ground.
“It’s the Christmas holidays, it’s New Year’s — you find out on New Year’s Day that all these people don’t have somewhere to work,” White said.
Hummel said her shop will be out of commission for at least a month while restoration is under way — and for other units it could be even longer.
So White did what he figured was “the right thing to do,” and offered up any available space in his barbershop to those affected by the flood. So far, a handful of beauticians have accepted his offer — two hair stylists, one nail technician and another individual who does lashes.
“We had one chair that was available … and a couple of our people work three days a week, so his chair was open,” White explained.
Hummel took advantage of White’s offer and was grateful to have a temporary home for her business while repairs are made.
She felt “so gracious and grateful and thankful,” Hummel said. “Gary and Shannon [White] are sweet people, and they’re always willing to lend a hand to anybody. It’s definitely traumatic to lose your comfort zone, but everybody has been very friendly offering us places to go and work until we’re set back up.”
Birk, of the Beehive, said she couldn’t believe the outpouring of community support.
“You have to think about how many employees were scrambling,” she said. “This isn’t just like you can go rent a temporary space because you need certain equipment to do this — a salon sink is essential.”
But thanks to the Whites, and salon owner Josie Boucher, the stylists and technicians affected by the New Year’s Day flood won’t be out in the cold. Boucher, who owns The Parlor Salon and Spa also offered up available nail desks and hair stations in her shop. She said stylists “work as hard as we can through the winter time” and knew it would be especially challenging in this time of year to lose a workspace. Two individuals affected by the flood have since been working out of the Parlor. »