NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A beloved Kurdish-owned grocery store will likely be closed for months as they recover from recent flooding in Nashville. They've been serving the South Nashville area for the last 20 years.
After surviving the 2010 flood, the Tovi family assumed they had lived through the worst of Mother Nature. "I didn’t expect it to rise up that high," said Helan Tovi, daughter of the co-owner of Botan Market.
Yet, at least around Edmondson Pike in South Nashville, the 2021 floodwaters went higher. "We lost cash registers, coolers, ice machines," she said.
Now, almost everything this family-owned grocery store had neatly on the shelves, now sits in a heap in their parking lot. "I mean honestly we’ve come a long way, but to restart a whole business is going to be difficult," said Tovi.
With it being just days until the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the timing couldn't be worse. "That is when most of our inventory is out, that is when most of our selling is going on, so for that to happen at this time - it’s very difficult," she said.
All of the water came from a swollen Seven Mile Creek, that ruined the market on one side of the bank, and a slew of homes on the other.
"I just kept watching the creek and telling myself, it’s not really coming in, it’s not really coming in," said Sandy Conatser, who's lived on Milner Drive since the 1970s.
If it wasn't for her next-door neighbor, Conatser might have been inside her home when the water won and invaded her home. "There was mud in my mailbox," she said.
Conatser is one of about ten homeowners on Milner Drive forced to now gut their homes and start over. "My floors have to come out, my wallboard has to come out," she said.
But none of these families are going through this alone. "I can look at all the damage in the house and just say, OK let’s get this done, but what brings me to tears is all the kindness that’s here," said Conatser.
Whether it's the Red Cross canvassing the neighborhood or the Kurdish community working night and day to clean up their market, when Mother Nature is at her worst, our communities bring out their best.
"We’re always here to serve so we hope that people are out here to serve for us too," said Tovi.
If you'd like to donate to Botan Market's GoFundMe page -- click here.
If you'd like to donate to the Milner Creek Flood Recovery GoFundMe page -- click here.
If you'd like to volunteer with Hands On Nashville -- click here.