For me, this last week has been an un-welcomed blur. For those who don’t know, my brothers and I own a running retail store (605 Running Company) located in downtown Sioux Falls. About 200 hours ago (10:30am on Friday, December 2nd), I got a text from our assistant manager that she had felt the building shake, and a policeman came in and told her to evacuate immediately. As it turns out, a business ON OUR BLOCK had collapsed.
Photo: Argus Leader
Now if you aren’t from Sioux Falls, or haven’t visited our store, our block is made up of four buildings that are separate but connected. First National Bank is the furthest north, followed by our building (made up of a bakery, then us, then a home decor shop). Just south of us (but again, still connected) was a bar, and then on the very south part of our block, another bar that was being renovated into a Lewis Drug (think local Walgreens/CVS). Above each of these main floor businesses were additional floors housing a rental company, a lawyer or personal apartments.
While information was not quick to disseminate, we eventually learned that two individuals had been trapped in the collapsed building furthest south: the former bar that was having renovation work done. Thankfully three hours later, a young woman was rescued, however, around 6pm on Friday night, the second individual, a construction worker, did not make it.
OSHA is conducting an investigation that I feel will be heavily relied upon as we try to determine exactly what happened, and I’m not planning on expounding in this forum all the things I’ve heard or read about the incident. What I can say is that this tragic event also had an effect on our business; closed for seven business days during the holiday season. We were initially evacuated on Friday as gas and power lines were cut to our block while damage was assessed. We were then told all the buildings on the block were safe to occupy. Then overnight Saturday (12/3), a hole developed in the bar just south of our building. While the city assured us that our building was safe on Sunday, our landlords told us the city had indicated the building was not safe and should not be occupied until Wednesday (12/7). Then on Tuesday (12/6), we were alerted that we would not be allowed to re-enter the building for safety reasons until at least Monday (12/12). Then finally, in one bizarre turn, we were e-mailed Thursday (12/8) that the building had been certified as safe by a structural engineer and we could return immediately.
Photo: Argus Leader
In the meantime, since we had been notified Tuesday (12/6) we could not occupy the building until Monday (12/12), we decided to set-up a “pop-up shop” on Wednesday (12/7) to be open as long as needed. Of course we spent a lot of time setting-up inventory to sell, only to be told we would be able to move it all back and be open on Friday (12/9). If you are getting confused looking at all these dates and shifts in information, imagine how difficult it was for us to actually discern what was going on!
Regardless, we are in our building that has been certified as safe, and happy that we can make an attempt for things to be “normal” again. This was an extremely difficult time for us as owners, our employees and really the Sioux Falls community. It’s always tough when a life is lost, and I’m looking forward to hearing ideas from our employees on how we can continue to build community through this time.
Meanwhile, if you are in need of shoes, apparel or any other running related items (or gifts), please do not hesitate to let me know. I know a good place to get some of that stuff.
FYI – there are lots of news outlets to read about what happened. Here is just one.