"Everything is just gone" ... Businesses struggle to recover

NORWICH – “Everything is just gone.” That was the nearly emotionless response from Michael Steward, owner of Shear Dimensions hair and tanning studio, after his home and business were devastated by flooding along the Chenango River Wednesday. Steward isn’t shocked that his livelihood was ravaged by water damage. Like many others in the area, he is shocked that it happened just over a year after flooding nearly wiped him out in April 2005.

“I had the financial means to recover last year,” the hair stylist of 17 years said, stating that between insurance, credit cards and significantly large bank loans, he’d been able to scrape by. “This time around I don’t, because it has only been a year. I’ve been struggling since the last flood.”

After the extensive damage caused last year, and the repairs and remodeling that followed, Steward had only been back in his home and studio 357 days until Wednesday, and he’s not sure when, or if, he’ll be able to return this time.

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