WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — On August 21, 2021, Waverly’s only grocery store had eight feet of water inside its building. One year later, the owner said the only reason they’re open now is thanks to the community members who volunteered to help rebuild.
“Water came in through the back of the store,” John Curtis, one of the owners of Cash Saver said. “It just blew a wall out. In a matter of they said about 10 minutes, they were climbing for their lives to get in an upstairs office.”
Employees were trapped inside the store for more than five hours. Curtis was on his way to a vacation, but he immediately booked a return flight home when he got the news of the flood.
“This wasn’t a creek rising over a period of time, basically Waverly flooded in a matter of minutes,” Curtis said. “Washed houses off foundations, vehicles; obviously we lost 20 community members during that time which is the most tragic part of it.”
Once the water receded, Cash Saver owners knew they had a lot of work to do.
“It’s our business, it’s what we do for a living, but this is the community’s grocery store,” Curtis said.
It took 115 days to clean up the store and rebuild. Cash Saver was one of the first businesses in Waverly to reopen in December 2021.
Cash Saver did not receive any help from FEMA or the Small Business Administration. Curtis told News 2 volunteers, including employees who were laid off, put in 7,000 hours to help.
“You can count on our God, you can count on our family, you can count on our friends, and you can count on our community,” Curtis said. “Had it not been for that, we would not be standing here.”
There are four businesses in Waverly Plaza, the same shopping center where Cash Saver is located, that are closed and have no plans to reopen, and there are many others just now getting back on their feet. Curtis urges people to shop local and support businesses to help with their recovery.