2012-03-24 / News

Clay’s Cafe gets help from friends

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Clay’s Café coowner Glenna Jones had just started working from her newly refurbished office when her mother called her at home early Thursday morning, telling her she should check on the restaurant.

“I just finished my office a week ago,” said Jones, who found Clay’s Café under about three feet of water following the early Thursday morning torrential storm.

To add insult to injury, the Hebron restaurant had just undergone a major renovation.

Thursday morning, Jones found the walk-in cooler was no longer working, the pizza oven was partially submerged and flooring and drywall were destroyed, among other damage.

“Insurance is covering nothing,” said Jones, who estimated the damage at roughly $20,000 to $30,000, not mention the loss of revenue from closing during the recovery process. She said the café is not in a flood plain and doesn’t carry flood insurance. Jones said her “ambitious goal” is to reopen Monday, March 26, but realistically she said Clay’s would likely reopen a little later in the week.

“We thought the dam broke,” said Jones’ husband, Mark, who feared part of the Buckeye Lake dam was compromised to allow that much water into Hebron. The dam was fine, but Clay’s Café was a mess.

Still, some positives emerged from the catastrophe. “We’ve been so blessed,” said Glenna Jones. She said community members came out in droves to help with the clean up effort and café staff members assumed leadership roles in organizing the volunteers. “There were some people we didn’t even know,” said Jones, who added that new friendships were developed in the wake of the flood damage.

“They’re telling us to just get back open again soon. That part’s been great,” she said. Jones said Ours Construction will build a new front counter. She said restaurants have to adhere to far more rigorous cleanliness and structural standards than residences, and the clean up is a major undertaking. “Everything has to be pristine,” said Jones.

Though devastating emotionally and financially, Jones believes Clay’s Café will emerge from the flood a better and stronger business. “It’ll be beautiful,” she said. “It isn’t often you get hundreds of people to help you with your spring cleaning.”

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