WACO, TX — Non-essential businesses have been struggling after keeping their doors closed for months. One small business owner, who reopened just one week ago, is now dealing with an unexpected mess that has him feeling more behind and overwhelmed than ever.
The owner of Tee's Smoke Shop says he was excited to get back to work, but now he's literally been flooded with a new problem.
Talal Safi says when his mother-in-law went to open the shop, sewage was bubbling and gushing into the building.
"She came and opened up, and she calls me panicking saying, "There is water all over the store." She started smelling bad smells. It wasn't just a regular leak. It was sewage water," said Safi.
The sludge has left his store in ruins.
"I had to pay from my pocket to come get the water out, and sadly the guy told me everything has to be thrown away because it's feces. All the shelves and walls need to be replaced," Safi explained.
After being closed for two months, the owner says this unexpected surprise has him feeling defeated.
"I have took so much losses for these past two months, and now everyday is pushing me behind," he said.
To help with drainage, the City of Waco workers showed up and opened a drain behind the business. An owner of a neighboring business that's been there for 16 years says while they have never been flooded, their sewage has always been a problem.
"Still right now, my water is not running good because of that. The sewer on the ground is stuck and don't make the water go," said Sally Meas, owner of Party Pack Liquor Store, which sits near the smoke shop.
She claims sewage problems have always been an issue, but she's also never known why it keeps happening and who needs to fix it.
"I am staying positive and hoping for the best," said Safi.
The City is closed for Memorial Day, but Safi says he hopes to talk to them tomorrow and get some direction about what to do next.
Safi has created a GoFundMe to help cover some costs.