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Monett thrift store hit hard by Thursday’s flash floods

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) - Heavy rains triggered flash flooding in Monett during Thursday’s storms. The overflow from Kelly Creek led to several rescues and damages to businesses. A local thrift store known for serving the needy was among the hardest hit.

Walk the Line Thrift Store owner Phillip Kristek welcomes you to his Monett store as he takes you through an aisle filled with water-logged paperback books and broken items strewn all over the floor.

“This is your hometown thrift store where you can find just about anything,” he said while trying to walk over the debris and maintain his sense of humor.

Kristek’s Monett business caters to those who have fallen on hard times and provides a variety of services to help low-income and homeless people. But now the store has fallen on hard times as most of the inventory took a hit during Thursday’s flash flood from its nextdoor neighbor, Kelly Creek.

”This is our check-out counter here and the water made it all the way up to there,” he said, pointing to a place about three-quarters of the way up the counter.

The fast-rising water left the store in shambles, powerful enough to knock refrigerators from their upright position and leaving the owner and his employees scrambling to get out.

”I got our life jackets and we got up on the couch,” Kristek said. “When the door opened the water was just whooshing through.  As soon as we could get hold of the bench outside we just kind of worked our way through it and got over to the jeep. The water’s up to the top of the tires on it and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute! We drive a jeep with a 10-inch lift in it!’”

Three teenagers along the back of the property had to be rescued as did Richard Rey, who lives in “Cara”, his name for the Caravan he calls home that is on the side of the thrift store property next to the creek.

”I took a nap after I ate my lunch,” Rey recalled.  “Then the fire department is banging on my door saying, ‘Sir you’ve got to get out of here! We’re flooded!’  I told ‘em, ‘Do whatever you have to do and get me outta here!’ They pulled me out with a rope. It was freaky.”

The landlord of the property, John Singer, is a native of the area and has seen many floods come through this town over the years. 

“It’s just one of those things that happens,” he said. “The city?  I don’t know if anyone knows how to fix it or not.”

For Kristek it’s yet another piece of bad news that’s also seen his store vandalized three times.

“It seems everywhere you go somebody wants to put a spear in your side,” he said. 

And the latest insult to injury is that the flash flood that ravaged his store took just an hour-and-a-half to recede. Gone as quickly as it came, leaving behind debris to clean up and broken hearts to heal.

”This place is from the heart and everything in here was built by heart,” Kristek said.  “As long as we can stay alive there ain’t no keeping us down.”

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