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Floods Silence St. Louis Retailers' Sales

Published March 24, 2008

ST. LOUIS, MO (BRAIN)—It looks as though St. Louis area retailers stayed dry, but they couldn’t stay above the fray when it came to lost sales due to the recent flooding that has devastated parts of Missouri and other parts of the Midwest.

Although the recent storms have caused flooding to various parts of the Midwest, it’s Missouri that has been hardest hit. President Bush has approved federal disaster aid this week for St. Louis and 70 Missouri counties. Hit hardest were areas along the Meramec River in the southeastern part of the state

“This last week Monday through Thursday was bad [for sales],” said Chris Brewer, manager of Trek Bicycle Store of St. Louis. “But Friday through the weekend was good, so we kind of made up for it.”

Trek Bicycle Store of St. Louis was planning a demo ride this weekend at historic Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, Missouri. More than a 100 people show up for these demo rides, he said.

“It’s probably not going to happen there now,” Brewer said. “We need to find a new location.”

Just southwest of St. Louis is Eureka—a town that really felt the flooding’s wrath. Fox Creek Outfitters, which just opened its doors last November, is located there.

“Thankfully we’re on high ground,” said Scott Baker, owner of Fox Creek Outfitters. Just a mile down the road from his shop, Baker said, was “some of the most devastating flooding.”

Another popular Missouri mountain biking destination that lies just northeast from his shop—Route 66 State Park—took on 7 feet of water, according to Baker.

With bike sales drastically down for Fox Creek Outfitters last week, Baker hopes to offset these losses with winter gear sales that include skis and snowboards. Although the area’s record winter snowfall has all but melted away, consumers are still purchasing winter goods for trips out west.

Baker stays optimistic that the flooding will only affect his business short term. But with a slumping economy and rising gas prices, Baker can’t be certain, as he experiences everything for the first time as a new shop owner.

“I’m hoping for the best,” he said.

—Jason Norman

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