B.G. Purcell, owner of caramel maker Mouth Party, would like to stay where she is, in the Clipper Mill center of business and art studios.
"It's a great space," she said.
It didn't look so great on Thursday, however. Mouth Party, which recently celebrated its first anniversary on Clipper Mill Road in Woodberry, was a flooded disaster zone of wet boxes and ruined equipment.
"Unfortunately, I think it's totaled," said Purcell, as she hugged well-wishers and commiserated with fellow Clipper Mill business owners, including Julie Sawyer, who works in media sales at Press Box, a sports publication. Its offices too were flooded..
"We have a lot of signed sports books," Sawyer said mournfully. "We're throwing it all out into the center."
Clipper Mill wasn't the only area affected by unusually heavy, long-lasting rain.
The shopping center Mount Washington Mill, at the low-lying, flood-prone intersection of Falls Road, Smith Avenue and the Kelly Avenue bridge, was flooded so badly that anchor Whole Foods blocked its entrance with a sign that said, "Temporarily closed," and center owner Sam Himmelrich said it was the worst flooding he had seen in more than 25 years of ownership.
"We're trying to help the tenants get back on their feet," Himmelrich said, adding that anchor Whole Foods was expected to re-open later Thursday. "We're doing the best we can."
Rain was also believed to have exacerbated longtime structural issues with a retaining wall on 26th Street, causing it to collapse Wednesday and sending cars, sidewalks and street lights onto the CSX tracks below.
Nineteen homes were evacuated, including Erica McCullough's house in the unit block of East 26th.
"It was scary," said McCullough, who owns a home-based cleaning company, Living Legacy. "I have two small children."
Daughter Camille, almost 2, went upstairs to take a nap, looked out the window and said, "Whoooo."
Camille's brother, Carter, 8, looked out and said, "Oh my God, the cars are sinking."
Carter grabbed the phone and called 311. His mother took the phone from him and spoke to the operator. Within minutes, McCullough was running out of the house, knocking on her neighbors' doors.
McCullough, a 13-year resident, said area residents have been urging city officials for years to fix infrastructure problems that had caused the sidewalk and roadway to crack and crumble.
The Sun reported that since at least the 1990s. residents have expressed concerns about the integrity of the wall, noting that sidewalks along 26th Street were sinking, and that in 1994, CSX and city officials debated who was responsible for repairing a cave-in at 26th Street and Guilford Avenue.
"Each day you would come out and see that the fissures in the street were a little larger," she said.
And she said traffic on 26th, a cut-through for many people, has increased noticeably in recent years.
Only one side of the street, with no houses or businesses on it, was affected, and there were no injuries reported, but McCullough, 38, said she still worried about the houses on her side of the street, because she said clay and sand under the street had been separating from the road surface.
McCullough said Thursday that she still was not allowed back in her house, but that a lot of family members and clients had offered to put her and the children up.