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One year later: Plymouth business owners reflect on record floods

PLYMOUTH, Ind. --- One year ago, flood waters devastated the Marshall County community and wreaked havoc on many businesses neighboring the yellow river.

Some business owners almost lost their businesses to the high flood waters.

On the corner of Michigan Street and Pennsylvania Avenue sits Bowen Printing as it has for nearly 40 years. But on February 21, 2018 a mix of melted snow and heavy rain put the business underwater.

“When I saw all the equipment in 14 inches of water…. I was devastated, thinking we would never reopen,” Dawn Smith said, who’s owned Bowen Printing since 2006.

Smith lost thousands of dollars to the flood waters estimating $15,000 of paper alone was damaged. But after a lot of hard work and late nights, Bowen Printing reopened six months after the flood.

“I was not going to give up,” Smith said.

Smith bought the business from her father, who opened the store back in 1982. For that reason, she did everything she could to bring the place that meant so much back to life.

“All the years that he had put into build it up to where it is and you know all the years that my staff has worked for me, you know we’re family,” Smith said. “And if I didn’t get back up and running, I’m letting that family down.”

 Josh Walker led a local volunteer response team after the flood devastated the community last February. He helped organize a team to help Smith in her recovery efforts.

“To know that her business was affected by the flood in really a very devastating way and I know that she was down for a days, some of her production machines were kind of hit or miss but then seeing her come back like she did and kind of never really slow down or lose tempo, that’s really encouraging,” Walker said.

Now, a reminder of what happened one year ago is on display inside Bowen Printing. Lettering on the wall adjacent to the main office room reads: “Flooded in gratitude, accomplishment, love.”

“That’s what we put that up so we never forget.” Smith said. “I knew we were gonna make a comeback and we were gonna come back better than before.”

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