Flooded Store Reopens

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EDWARDSVILLE -- A business in Luzerne County is back open, nearly one year after it was severely damaged by the historic September flood in 2011.

The Kmart in Edwardsville opened its doors to dozens of customers Monday morning.

It was something not seen in fifty weeks: customers entering Kmart, at the Mark Plaza, along Route 11 in Edwardsville.

Vincent Osowski was one of the first there.

“I live in Courtdale, right, for me to go all the way over to Wilkes-Barre, it was a pain in the you know what.  I love this store.”

And Osowski is not alone.  Kmart is the only big general merchandise retailer in the west side of the Wyoming Valley.

Flo Belenski of Harveys Lake said she missed the place.

“I was really happy for everybody locally because there are a lot of senior citizens who can't get too far from where they live.”

Kmart and the rest of the stores got swamped nearly one year ago, when Tropical Storm Lee sent the Susquehanna River and Toby Creek over their banks.

While Kmart was under water a year ago, the store has now become an island.  Every other store that was in the Mark Plaza a year ago has closed, shut down, with no plans to reopen.

The mayor of Edwardsville has heard some businesses are interested in locating there and hopes they're inspired by the Kmart success story.

“I just hope people are looking at how Kmart is going to do.  I'm sure we're going to see some other businesses coming, hopefully,” said Mayor Ace Dubaskas.

The store is no stranger to floods.  It's been under water five times since 1972.  The manager said Edwardsville is in the top ten per cent of performers in the chain, so there was never any doubt, it would come back.

“We're here to stay,” said Jim Soucy. “As long as the community allows us, we're here.

Kmart provides jobs for more than 100 full and part timers.  A formal grand re-opening is scheduled for next month.