Hurricanes bust windows and cause flooding of antique shop, leaving merchandise in the street

The owners found out about their damaged store while watching the news in Houston where they evacuated. They returned days later to find the damage from the storms.

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Cedar Chest Antiques in Lake Charles has a building full of neat collectibles, but last year’s storms broke the exterior windows of their building, sucking merchandise into the streets.

The owners found out about their damaged store while watching the news in Houston where they evacuated. They returned days later to find the damage from the storms.

“The front windows got all sucked out, and we had merchandise that was sucked out,” owner of Cedar Chest Antiques, Rick Wilson said. “The roof was blown off, and then the second hurricane flooded us pretty good.”

Antique items the Wilson’s had for sale in their store, littered the street, but one piece of history, a 1950′s phone booth, remained untouched.

“All of our windows got sucked out except the ones around that phone booth,” Wilson said. “It was actually protected by the windows that stayed in place.”

Owning a small business is hard enough but closing for months to clean up damage from two hurricanes, Wilson said was depressing and overwhelming.

“We decided we can’t just roll over and quit,” Wilson said. “So, [we said] let’s get busy, put on our big boy pants and get the shop back open, and that’s what we did.”

The store owners have concerns as another hurricane season approaches. Wilson said next time they will make sure to board the windows.

“We never really thought much about it. Well, now we worry about it quite a bit,” Wilson said. “I don’t want to go through that again. I just don’t.”

Cedar Chest Antiques opened in 2010, and the Wilson’s do not plan on retiring any time soon.

“We love doing it,” Wilson said. “We are part of the community here. She loves looking for the stuff. The thrill of the hunt, she loves finding it.”

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