CEDAR RAPIDS — As most businesses in the New Bohemia district rush to open their doors, the NewBo City Market and its 24 vendors won’t be open for business until Oct. 13.
The market’s executive director, Scott Kruger, said the lengthy timeline is due to the extensive flood precautions taken before the Cedar River began rising last month.
“With everything we have, I think it took twice as long to get everyone out,” Kruger said. “And I think with everything we have, it’s going to take twice as long to get back in.”
The 2,400-square-foot space, located at 1100 Third St. SE, was emptied completely ahead of the Cedar River’s crest of nearly 24 feet on Sept. 27.
“When we got word of the impending flood and saw some of the projections, the worst crest was 25.3 feet and would have put seven feet of water inside the market,” Kruger said. “When we evacuated for the flood, we really evacuated.”
The market is regularly open from Thursday to Sunday.
“It would have been really tight to try to be open by this Thursday,” Kruger said.
Public health officials inspected the market itself Monday, and vendors are allowed to move their equipment back in starting Tuesday.
Carmen Legaspi, one of the market’s vendors, said she is eager to start moving her Mexican food storefront back into the market.
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“We miss it a lot,” said Legaspi, who owns La Reyna with her husband, Carlos. “It’s more than for the income, we miss the people around. NewBo is a kind of family.”
Owner of The Sausage Foundry, Steven Prochaska, said many vendors have to rebuild their spaces, which include retail boutiques and small restaurants.
“Then we have to pass a health inspection,” Prochaska said. “Each of the vendors is subject to their own health inspection.”
Kruger said the market didn’t sustain any flood damage. Many nearby businesses took on water in their basements, but the market doesn’t have a basement.
“Most of our damage came from the wear and tear of preparing for the flood,” Kruger said. “But just the threat of the second highest flood in history caused a lot of economic damage.”
The market itself, which is a non-profit, took a financial hit in “the tens of thousands,” Kruger said.
“Once you throw in the lost revenue for the merchants, you’re in the hundreds of thousands,” Kruger said.
The market returns to its regular hours next week — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.