DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Range Avenue in Denham Springs was hit hard by the summer's floodwaters, just like most of the city, but this road is particularly important.
"Eighty percent of our businesses are located on Range Avenue between Florida Boulevard and the interstate," Mayor Gerard Landry said. "Every
single store on that strip of Range was impacted by the flood."
Hardware stores, restaurants, and small shops all suffered, but the area has come back quicker than expected. Home Depot re-opened in October, which was met with a huge celebration. Two weeks ago, Office Depot returned, and the city's largest store, Walmart, is scheduled to reopen in March.
Mayor Landry says the corporate offices for those companies realized how important these shops are, so they invested extra manpower to get them reopened as quickly as possible.
"We're obviously very loyal to our retailers that are here, and they, I think they realize that, and that they needed to come back as quickly as they could,"
Landry said. "It's very important that we get that section of town up and running again for the sales tax that we desperately need to run our city."
Small businesses are also getting back on their feet. Hannah's Dancewear and Apparel made a quick comeback, returning in mid-September, but the store's owner says business was slow initially because nothing else was open.
"Everything that's on Range, you know, there was nothing to do, nothing to eat, nowhere to shop," said owner Sarah Camp.
Now that the big shops are coming back, customers are returning. "You don't have to go into Baton Rouge anymore, you can stay right here in Livingston Parish," Camp said.
The area will also be getting some new stores, such as Captain D's and Salad Station. Development plans are in the works.