SUMAS — Less than two months ago, James Richardson and his family bought a home in Sumas.
In the home, James lives with his wife Sadie, 4-month-old daughter Myla and 5-year-old son James.
Following last week’s flood across Whatcom County, the Richardson family has been temporarily displaced from their home.
By temporarily, Richardson said last week it’s more like “possibly the middle of next year before the contractor can get to my home.”
And his insurance coverage, most specifically the loss of use coverage, would provide no more than $5,000 over three months. As for the family’s personal belongings, Richardson said he was told nothing was covered.
“Flood insurance is a (expletive) joke,” he said.
Richardson is not a happy man.
Walking through the damage of his home, Richardson stopped in Myla’s room, then to young James’ room. He held a small light his son sleeps with each night. Richardson also looked at the upgrades to the room, decorations the family had made to the walls, upgrades that likely won’t survive.
Some parts of the Richardson home saw flooding come up as high as three-and-one-half feet. Other parts of the home, just shy of one foot.
For now, the family lives in an apartment, which means the Richardsons are paying rent and paying their mortgage. Not too many people in the best of times can afford to pay for two places to live and only use one of them.
At least Richardson can be thankful for the friends and family helping him out, he said, folks who helped him sort out the family’s belongings ruined in the flood.
Rebuilding one arm of the family business
Last week’s flood severely damaged the Sumas Bob’s Burgers and Brew and the Cherry Street Market. Rick and Wendy Kildall, the businesses’ owners, had flood insurance on Bob’s, but not on the market. Rick Kildall explained that flood insurance is required on any floodplain property still being paid off.
He also admitted that if they weren’t making payments on Bob’s, they probably wouldn’t have had flood insurance on it, either.
“It’s expensive,” he said. “It’s that one more bill.”
Fortunately for Kildall, the family business is covered.
In 1970, it opened as the Ronde Voo. Rebranded in 1982 as Bob’s Burgers and Brew, Rick and Wendy Kildall bought Bob’s from his father, Bob Kildall in 1996. In 2005, they bought the Cherry Street Market and the Chevron station between the market and Bob’s.
Rick Kildall said Friday that he hoped to reopen the businesses fairly soon, within the next month or so.
“But the equipment will be a big issue,” Rick Kildall said. “A lot of the equipment is months out.”
That Bob’s is a family business, they can reopen even if they’re not able to offer all menu items because of equipment issues. Offering what they can, then expanding the menu back to what Bob’s customarily offers, is possible because they are not part of a chain of restaurants.
“We’ll try to get open as soon as it’s functionally possible,” he said. “I’m just not sure when that will be yet. Most of the mud is out of Bob’s. If the mud dries, the building will stink forever.”
Kildall described the situation at the Cherry Street Market as “modestly complicated.”
Although the floors “clean easily,” and there’s a “lot less equipment” in the Market than in Bob’s, it’s mostly about the inventory, lots of inventory at Cherry Street Market.
As the market’s manager the past two years, Laura Anker said the business has become a big part of her life, and her employees like family. Being in repair and recover mode is not what she counted on heading into the holidays.