The Habitat for Humanity of Walton County ReStore was scheduled to open this week in
Teresa Imdieke, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, knew that the building was in trouble when she saw the Walton County Sheriff's Office share a photo of 393, where the store is located, under water. She had to wait until May 1 when the roads were open to asses the damage.
When she finally got to the store, Imdieke couldn't hold back tears.
"I bawled," she said. "It was literally total devastation. We had to throw away everything because of the flood."
Just a few miles away from the store, Imdieke's
"We thought we were safe," she said. "We had coverage for hurricanes and everything — except flooding."
With a store already in
"It's the largest contributor to our budget," Imdieke said. "Every day we're not open is a loss of sales. So this is a huge, devastating loss to us."
When Habitat got the lease for the space in January, they began renovating and spent $20,000 to get the building retail ready.
"We've had to rip out some of the walls that will have to be re-wired, which could take two weeks," Imdieke said. "We just paid for the carpet."
While the building already has a crew on task to renovate the renovations, Imdieke said the store is in dire need of merchandise.
"Donations would be a big help," she said. "We take lightly-used construction materials, furniture, housing goods, sinks, windows. Only thing we don't sell is clothes."
Just as Habitat for Humanity helps qualified families rebuild their lives with affordable housing, Imdieke is optimistic that the Walton County ReStore will come back strong.
"It's heartbreaking," she said. "But I know we will survive."