Flood woes fueling appliance and furniture sales
Madison Heights – — Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but Sue Tyler spent the entire day rebuilding and restocking the flooded basement of her Huntington Woods home.
After days of dragging wet and ruined property outside to the curb, Tyler was at the Home Depot in Madison Heights on Sunday loading two large boxes of new cabinets into her car to replace the ones lost in the downstairs laundry room. In recent days, Tyler also bought a new washer, dryer, water heater and furnace after flood waters ravaged those, too.
“We just keeping telling ourselves it’s just stuff, but it’s wearing you down. We are very tired,” she said.
So are thousands of others, who nonetheless trudged to big-box appliance stores and smaller mom-and-pop shops this weekend for washing machines and dryers, refrigerators, drywall and cabinets.
From Dearborn and Royal Oak to Warren, homeowners continue to refurbish basements and homes after the massive storm dumped up to 6 inches of rain.
Karleton Wright, assistant store manager at the Home Depot in Madison Heights, said the store has been extremely busy every day for the past two weeks. A “flood recovery zone” was set up just inside the store’s entrance that contained large stocks of cleaning supplies, cardboard boxes and dehumidifiers.
“The biggest sellers the first few days were water heaters and plumbing equipment. Now it’s in the phase of buying dehumidifiers, cleaning supplies. Those things are flying off the shelves,” Wright said.
“Now it’s at the point where they are buying drywall, paint and like that to get their houses back in shape. Appliance sales are going through the roof.”
Volvo saleswoman Kelly Ashton of Berkley used her one day off, Sunday, to return to Home Depot for cleaning supplies, a new garbage can and detergent. She already painted her basement floor over with epoxy paint. Now, it’s more cleaning.
“I lost carpeting, I tore all the tile out, my treadmill is gone,” Ashton said. “My basement is waterproofed, so I was lucky.”
Richard Stys wasn’t feeling so lucky. The flood caused about $9,000 in damage to his Center Line home. After buying a washer and dryer last week, he and his wife, Sharon, went to ABC Warehouse on 10 Mile to buy a basement refrigerator and freezer to replace ones wrecked by the flood.
The Styses, married for 54 years, have a water-backup policy on their homeowner insurance and will get help to replace appliances that got soaked in 19 inches of water.
“We lost too many things to mention, ya know?” Stys said, receipt in hand for his new purchase. “We are on the road to recovery, but we still have more to do. Everything is out on the deck in totes and the garage.”
Chet Detloff, store manager of the ABC Warehouse in Center Line, said the company discounted all of its merchandise to help flood victims get back on their feet. Customers are driving in from other counties to purchase items such as dehumidifiers that they can’t find elsewhere.
“Most people have basement laundry around here. They need it as big as they can get it and inexpensive,” Detloff said.
“Even though the flood is over already, a lot of these people are waiting for insurance. That’s why we are still getting people in every day. We’ve had traffic every day.”
In Huntington Woods, the work of appliance replacement was unfolding across the city.
As Waste Management Systems dump trucks carted away piles of trash over the weekend, restoration and appliance store trucks carted in new washers, dryers, refrigerators and anything else that was lost in the submerged basements.
Sherryl Nens, a 36-year-old resident, is nearly done replacing everything from her basement flooring to a number of appliances.
She said she hasn’t found any deals, but neighbors have traded tips on where to go through Nextdoor, a private online social network for neighbors in Huntington Woods.
Wendy McGough, a 51-year-old Huntington Woods resident, said she’s not sure how she’ll replace the furnace and dryer she lost because of a flooded basement. She said she’s hesitant to put any appliances there anymore.
“I’ll never use my basement again for anything,” she said.