News Ticker

Some businesses in Valley Center are on hold after flood

The flood on Saturday, March 28 damaged a lot of businesses throughout Wilson County, but one area hit really hard was the Valley Center.
Most of the businesses in the plaza are still closed, and it has been another headache for businesses who have fought through a tornado, a pandemic and now a destructive flood.
“It’s really devastating for all involved,” said Jimmy Chandler of RockStar Academy of Dance.
Memo’s Mexican Kitchen only had an inch or two of water come into their restaurant, but they have to stay closed because the water that came in could have been contaminated. Crews came in and removed up to four feet of drywall and other materials to replace it. That leaves the restaurant closed until somtime in June, which has been tough for the owners Memo and Katie Murillo. They closed for two weeks last year during the pandemic, and now this will be even longer. They will miss Cinco De Mayo for the second year in a row, which is a big day for them. Luckily, the community has stepped up. Memo Murillo said that his church, Providence United Methodist Church, just showed up and asked what they could do to help. Not a one asked for anything in return.
“We are in a great community,” said Katie Murillo. “They say God doesn’t put any more on your plate than you can handle.”
The Murillos didn’t have flood insurance, but it wouldn’t have helped them. They didn’t suffer any damage because of their flooring. But the possibility of contamination led to the remodel and the lengthy closure.
Despite all the setback, Memo and Katie said it was important that their employees didn’t suffer through the time they are closed. They both agreed to pay their employees the entire time they were closed. For servers that were making the majority of their money on tips, they estimated how much they made each night and paid them that amount.
“Our employees still need to feed their families,” said Katie Murillo.
If you would like to donate to help Memo’s Mexican Kitchen through the closure, you can donate at Wilson Bank & Trust or Venmo.
Chandler said that RockStar was rebounding well after the pandemic, so it was just terrible timing that they suffered the damage they did.
He said they are just out of the mitigation process and hope to be back open in some since in the middle of May. They suffered $75,000 worth of damage, much of that included items from a recent $80,000 remodel.
“Half of that is in the dumpster now,” said Chandler.
Chandler said that when something like this happens, you wonder to yourself if it is worth it to open back up and keep going. But an outpouring from the community convinced him it was the right thing to open back up.
“This community is absolutely outstanding,” said Chandler.
Chandler said that Journey Church and Generation Changers Church, both in Lebanon, have done whatever they could to help. He said people he didn’t even know came to help after the flood to get them back.
“This is too special a community to leave behind,” said Chandler.
Valon Arifi of Calabria Brickoven Pizzeria said that he expects to be closed for at least four to six weeks. He had to rent a pod to store all their equipment so the repairs could be done inside.
“This is going to be very difficult for our business when we get back open due to the fact that 18 of our employees are forced to find another job or file for unemployment,” said Arifi.
They did not have flood insurance as well and lost a lot of equipment due to water damage, which will be all their expense.
Deaton Karate Studios had to temporarily close their Mt. Juliet location for the complete renovation. They have a Lebanon location, but would love to get their Mt. Juliet location open as soon as possible. A GoFundMe has been set up to help their recovery. Go to https://gofund.me/2cfe23e3 for more information.
Mt. Juliet City Commissioner Scott Hefner said that was he sad to see the devastation. The morning after the flooding he got out and asked the businesses what help they needed and chipped in where he could. He said that the Commission and City are discussing what actions they can take to help speed the process of reopening like fast tracking inspections or waiving city fees that comes along with the rebuilding process. He said they did something similar after the tornado.
“Anything the City can do along those lines, I’ll make sure we are doing it,” said Hefner.
He said that there have been many fundraisers already, one of which is Catch-22 donated their proceeds one evening to the staff at Calabria Brick Oven Pizzeria to help them while they are out of work.