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The Vermont Bowl Company, Hit by Irene, Flooded Again

The Vermont Bowl Company, in Wilmington was flooded during heavy rains on Sunday and its two stores are still closed.

The company was also hit by floodwaters two years ago during Tropical Storm Irene.

Vermont Bowl Company Vice President Tom Fox says on Sunday the water came so fast and in such a short period of time, the culvert on the east side of his business was overwhelmed. Same thing with the culvert to the west, underneath Route 9

“It will not take the amount of water it was designed to,” explained Fox.” It will back up and when it backs up  it starts coming into the west end of my retail stores  and into the factory there.”

Fox says since Tropical Storm Irene neither of these culverts have been repaired.

VTrans says it’s sending a team to evaluate the culverts and make recommendations for improvements.

The Vermont Bowl Company and John McLeod LTD which also makes wood products, are two sister companies. Fox said since Irene, the two stores and factory have more of its products off the floor, higher up.

“We lost less merchandise and raw materials because we are now more prepared for flooding. Due to the change in the weather we’ve been having.”

Back when Irene hit, Fox says the business was relatively lucky.

“We had it good compared to the people in town,” Fox said.

‘Good’ being $30,000 to $50,000 in damage.  This time the damage is estimated to be about half that. The company, which is the biggest wooden bowl manufacturer in the country, used its own funds to recover from Irene. But Fox said it’s looking for help now.

“Hit us once; OK. Hit us twice; Nah!” said Fox. “We may need a little help this time.”

The Bowl Company’s factory was back up and running on Tuesday.

The stores are still drying out, but they expect to be open before the weekend.

Nancy Cohen covers southern Vermont's recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. Her work is supported by the VPR Journalism Fund.
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