After two deadly floods, a main stay on Ellicott City, Maryland’s Main Street is shutting its doors as the store’s long time owner decides what’s next.
In 2016, Sally Tennant escaped the ferocious floodwaters that tore down Main Street by putting her cat in a suitcase and climbing out the bathroom window of her apartment, which was above her store, called Discoveries.
She vowed to clean up and reopen her store, and did just that. But her reopening would be short lived. In May of 2018 another deadly flood would tear through the town, and this time her building would be condemned.
“I’ve been busting my backside, just to tread water and stay open,” Tennant said.
Following the most recent flood, Tennant moved her store to a temporary location across the street, after accepting a kind gesture from the property owner who only charged her a $1 a month in rent for a store front.
“I love Ellicott City, but I stayed here in a much smaller space,” she said.
She moved in knowing that another lease would begin in late June and now the time has come for her to move out. Sunday was her last day.
“I can’t go back to my building, so that puts me behind the eight ball,” Tennant said.
Tennant’s original building will be demolished as part of the county’s plan to protect the city from future flooding. Tenannt, who didn’t have insurance, is still negotiating with the county on how much she will receive for her store.
“I have lost, along with my fellow merchants, lost everything in the floods,” she said.
For now, she will have to put her inventory in storage and really think long and hard about what is next. She said any new location in Ellicott City would have to be safer when it comes to flood risks and affordability. Tennant also hasn’t ruled out leaving the town she has called home for more than 35 years.
“Any alternative that I choose is going to be a compromise over what I had, what I had was ideal,” she said.