Businesses Back Open After Rain, Flooding

SAINT CLAIR, Pa. -- It's finally back to business at a popular strip mall shut down by flooding in Schuylkill County.

Cars filled the parking lot of Coal Creek Commerce Center near Pottsville on this warm, summer day in late August. This time last week, the popular shopping hub was desolate.

For 12 days, shops and restaurants were shut down after the area was hit with heavy rain and flash flooding.

"In the restaurant business, it's seven days a week. It's 12, 14-hour days. I'd never thought I would miss it, but we missed it so much. We missed seeing our regulars. We're a popular restaurant, so it was great to see, once we opened, how all the people came back and were happy to see us, and we were thrilled to see them," said Vito Valenti, owner of Vito's Coal Fired.

"Before we closed, a lot of customers called here asking, 'When are you open, when are you open?' because a lot of customers like it here," said Anthony Laing, owner of Uma Hibachi Steak House.

For many of the business owners, not being able to work for nearly two weeks was grueling. Now that they're back on a normal schedule, it's time for catch up mode.

"That was a bit hard. We did have two weeks of no business and this whole area shut down," said Charles Sophy, owner of Sophy Jewelers. "Luckily, as you've gone around, you've seen parking lots filled. There's a lot of traffic here. Everything seems to be going back to normal. Thank God."

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