#backtobusiness: Shrewsbury bar owner determined to reopen following £30,000 of damage due to floods
A Shrewsbury pub was forced to close for the first time in more than 14 years after flooding caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
And while the Salopian Bar in Smithfield Road is not quite back to business quite yet, owner Ollie Parry is remaining positive.
When the first major flood hit the county in February, the River Severn broke its bank and seeped into the pub's cellar, destroying all the stock and cooling equipment.
Mr Parry was forced to turf out the regulars and close the pub for the first time since he took over in 2005.
He said: "I have owned the pub for 14 years and it's flooded about 45 times. The cellar is below ground level and is about 10 metres from the edge of the river. The water seeps through the brickwork and concrete, and floods the cellar. As soon as I see the water going onto Frankwell Car Park I know it will soon hit us.
"We've been flooded four times in the last four weeks though which is scary. When the first big flood came, it very quickly came across Smithfield Road and that's when we lost the cellar. The water went all the way to the ceiling and we lost all the stock, all the cooling and chilling equipment, the heating for the building and half of the electrics.
"I shut the pub at 7pm that night. It was the first time in 14 years I've had to do that. I don't even shut on Christmas day.
"The following week when the second big flood came we were already shut so it didn't affect us in that way but this time the water came into the bar itself. There was about a foot of water in there. We had sandbags but they didn't do very much. Luckily I knew it was going to flood so I got some of the staff and regulars to help me move all the furniture so there was no more damage."
Mr Parry estimates that he has lost about £10,000 worth of stock, £15,000 worth of equipment and a £5,000 heating system.
"That's £30,000 straight away on an insurance claim," he said.
"We are very lucky because we have got insurance that will cover us against floods and I know a lot of businesses can't get it.
"Our excess is very big but the claim is going to be so big it won't make much of a difference.
"I do worry about the future though now I'm making this claim. I worry that they may decide not to give us flood cover going forward."
The insurers have been on site this week surveying the damage but it is not likely that work will start for another few weeks.
Mr Parry had hoped to reopen in May but after speaking to the insurers, the work could take up to six months.
"It's going to be a very long process," he added.
"I have so many regulars and everyone is saying they miss the pub. I miss it too, and I miss them.
"I know I'm biased but it's a great pub. We have people that come in seven days a week - it's like a family.
"They keep ringing and asking how I am and when we will be back open which is nice. They are drinking in other pubs for the time being but I'm sure they will come back and show their support when we do reopen."
The Shropshire Star has launched a #backtobusiness campaign to support the community following the floods. We want to use our platform to let people know when your business is back in action after the floods, how people can help, and to tell people about the customers and residents who have gone above and beyond to help.
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