Merv's hamburger restaurant cleaning up flooded mess after weekend rains
A well-known business at the foot of Signal Mountain is still cleaning up a big mess after the weekend rains.
Merv's Hamburger Joint is starting from scratch, and it will be a while before it serves from the grill again.
The owner of Merv's, Stacy Morris, says the business has been in her family for more than 30 years. It is not the first time she has been flooded out, but says it is tough not having an income and not being able to pay her employees.
"Since 2004 I have endured, this is the fourth flood, this one being second to the worst," says Morris.
Piles of debris fill the dumpster sitting outside of Merv's restaurant and fans continue to run inside. As Sunday's rain pounded down, it left behind a muddy mess.
"Complete devastation. There's really nothing left. The walls are coming out and we're starting over."
Stacy Morris has owned Merv's since 1996 when she bought from her father, who owned it since 1982. She started out as a cook and says the restaurant has been her life ever since.
"I've done a lot of crying. So if my eyes are swollen I want to apologize to everyone," she says with a laugh.
Although she does have flood insurance, it might not cover all the costs of repairs.
"Actually I was scared. You know, 'Can I pull this off one more time?' It becomes a financial strain," says Morris.
With no income, she is stressed about helping her nine employees.
"All the employees are without their jobs and obviously they need their jobs to support their families also. So the burden is on my shoulders to get things moving quickly."
In the meantime, crews spent the past three days ripping out dry wall and carpet. She says after the restaurant flooded in 2004, the city came in and reworked some drainage issues and thought that was the end of it.
"They've made things better, but there's still...with all the buildings that are being built around the area, I think there's just not enough place for the water to run off, and I'm the lowest lying building in the area," she says.
Morris says moving is not an option, saying she is grateful for the community that has supported her over the years.
"I just want to thank them for always being supportive of my business and I'm looking forward to seeing them in the very near future."
Morris says when the restaurant flooded in 2004, it did around $200,000 worth of damage and she thinks it will be about the same this time around. She is hoping to be back open in the next six weeks.