SALMON RIVER – Wayne Tattrie still remembers Sept. 10 very well.
Tattrie, who has been employed with Eddy Group’s Truro location for the past 28 years, spent that morning wading through waist-high water at his workplace.
“I parked on the other side of the railway tracks at the Needs store and walked across the bridge,” said Tattire, an inside salesman, as he recalled the day flood waters rose to four feet high inside the 22,000 square-foot facility.
“I was walking up Queen Street and water was everywhere. It had flooded the land right next to the building. There were oil tanks floating around and I looked at the building – water was up to the windows outside.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, what a mess.’”
At the time, Tattrie said he wasn’t really thinking straight but it started to sink in that the business, with 14 employees as well as five staff from head office who work out of the building, might not be able to call the location home anymore.
He and a number of other employees gained access to the building after the power had been disconnected. They wanted to see if they could salvage any of the electronics, such as computers, inside.
“There were two people ahead of me and I was taking pictures. Water was flowing everywhere. Water was seeping through walls and things were floating around. It was just a mess.”
Two days later, the sales people were set up in a space at the Best Western Plus Glengarry to continue their jobs, while a temporary location was sought and reparation plans were underway.
“This was a collaboration between the communities, levels of government and fellow business owners,” Robyn Eddy, president of the company, said on Thursday, the same day they were hosting a grand re-opening celebration for everyone involved. “It was unbelievable.
“We were at the point where we had no business.”
Three days after the business flooded, the water had receded and two-inch thick sludge covered the floors.
With a warehouse of 18,000 sq. ft., the Eddy Group moved into temporary quarters on Upham Drive to a downsized space of 4,000 sq. ft.
“We were thrilled with that option,” said Eddy. “By that time, we had a couple of businesses running. We were going through products above the four-foot level to see what was good, and sorting through what was below that to see what wasn’t. We were able to move into the temporary location and our sales people kept the customer business going.
“The staff really came together. We were so gracious by it all.”
In looking at the flooding situation, the business and those surrounding it weren’t flooded by the river, but nearby runoff.
“It came from Harmony way,” said Eddy. “It came down the hill – it’s all built up there and we’ve lost the trees.”
The culvert that runs under the bridge “jammed early,” said Eddy, which didn’t help the situation.
Shortly after the flooding, the Eddy Group got started on an engineering plan to fix the flooding issues and met with government and provincial officials, including Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann, Emergency Management planning officer Dominic Fewer and Department of Environment regional director Jay Brenton.
“We presented our case. We would be out of business unless we could come back here,” said Eddy, noting there was no other parcel of land or location suitable for the business.
“We were willing to do our part of it and work on our property, which in turn would help others up the road. If we aren’t flooding, they aren’t either.”
By the first week of November, work had started to replace the culvert and the Eddy Group began trenching, dredging and building berms, tearing up paving and grating.
“Effectively we’ve got ourselves a little moat. All we’re missing is the drawbridge,” laughed Eddy.
Kelly Toole, general manager of the Truro business, said there is roughly $1 million worth of products on hand in the warehouse and about a third of that was lost in the flooding.
“By about 8:30 or 9 that morning, the water was up to the desks and out back (in the warehouse), it was just a couple of inches below the counter,” he said.
Eddy estimated the cost of replacing and repairing the damage, which included essentially a complete remodel of the building, cost the same as it was to replace the culvert outside.
“It’s the intensity of the rain and the period of time,” Eddy said, about what caused the flooding. “But now things are just fine.”
The business moved back into the revamped facility and re-opened to its customers on March 26. Click here to see the Eddy Group's photographs of the flood, the damage and the road to recovery.
- Eddy Group formed in 1895 with window manufacturing and replacing carriage wheels
- Fourth generation family owned and operated, with fifth generation employed as well
- Home location was in Bathurst, N.B., where a branch still operates
- Other offices include Truro, Halifax, Amherst, Miramichi, Saint John and Fredericton
- Opened in Truro 70 years ago; moved to the Salmon River Road location mid 1970s
- The Truro office has 14 employees, plus five employees with head office
- The company employs 130 in total
- The Truro office includes a retail showroom and contract counter
- Its two biggest product lines include plumbing and electrical products
- Also offers heating and waterworks products
- The Truro showroom pairs with its contractors and homeowners are able to pick out their products to work with the plumbers