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Waverly's only local grocery store reopens after the flood

Waverly Cash Saver
Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 19:28:45-05

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — You don't have to stand in line very long at the Waverly Cash Saver, to realize this isn't just an ordinary store.

"How are you, Mr. Simpson?" said Lila Jones, a clerk at the store. "Alright see you next week."

After all, they've survived an extraordinary ordeal. "I can’t even imagine what they went through," said Jones.

On Saturday, August 21, Karen Clark and eight other employees were working their normal shift, when the floodwaters came surging in. "It was very scary," said Clark, a manager at Cash Saver. "The time it took us from one side of the store to the other, we were in water above my head pretty much."

It would be a terrifying situation for anyone, but especially for Clark who can't swim. "A lot of praying going on, no doubt," she said.

They eventually found a place to perch until they were rescued. "Took a boat pretty much half the distance of the parking lot to put us to dry land," said Jones.

But the store was left in shambles. "It was hard for me to comprehend in my mind what was going on," said John Curtis, co-owner of the Waverly Cash Saver.

Curtis says he and his other co-owner immediately decided to rebuild but knew they needed help. "It’s probably in the thousands of hours here with people working and volunteering," said Curtis.

That's when their regulars became their rescuers. "When we told them what we needed to do, some of them spent months down here helping us," said Curtis.

Now, after 115 days, customers have returned to the Waverly Cash Saver. The store is the community's only local grocery store. "We’ve missed our grocery store," said Linda Miles, a devoted customer.

While a few things are different, what they're known for — extraordinary southern hospitality — is back to being the ordinary way things are done. "I’ve gotten hugged I don’t know how many times today. They’re so thankful we’re back open," said Jones.

"It’s just Waverly. It’s hometown. And we like hometown," said Miles.