Two years later: Downtown Davenport businesses reflect on 2019 flood, pandemic

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Two years ago on April 30, the HESCO barriers broke in downtown Davenport. Water wiped out Second Street, taking many local businesses with it. Some restaurants are still working to recover from the flood, the COVID pandemic, and now, construction downtown.

Front Street Brewery reflected on the flood two years later.

“It was a crazy day. I remember we were just sitting here water watching. We didn’t know what was going to happen because the water had gotten so high in our basement. The fire marshall came around and told everybody to evacuate because they thought the wall was going to give. Then fifteen minutes later we were flooded,” says Front Street Brewery General Manager, Kristy Pieffer.

A few months later after cleanup, the pandemic hit, and restaurants lost revenue.

“With COVID, it was the same story. The hits just kept coming for us. When COVID came we definitely slowed down and then we came to a halt when we had to shut down,” says Pieffer.

Down the street at Lopiez, it was a similar story.

“It was very hard to stay motivated, the future looked very bleak and for a while, we weren’t sure if we were going to make it out of the first month. But we are still here. we had to pivot though. We bought a second store just so we could do a lot more take-out and delivery,” says co-owner of Lopiez, Andrew Lopez.

Now some downtown Davenport restaurants are battling the hit construction can take on business.

“There were a couple of days where we had to close early because we didn’t have water from some of the construction they were doing,” says Lopez.

After two years of struggles, and with fewer COVID restrictions, downtown Davenport restaurants are hoping to make a comeback.

“This summer is going to be great because people are tired of being cooped up. They are ready to get back out, everybody is vaccinated so it’s going to be a good summer,” says Pieffer.

The 2019 flood reached 22.6 feet. The previous record was 21 feet in July 1993.

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