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Conway business owner frustrated over reoccurring flash flooding

For parts of Central Arkansas, this has been one of the wettest starts of the year— Not only does all this rain impact our commutes but it also impacts businesses.

CONWAY, Arkansas — Since the beginning of this year, it has felt as if every single week has had some amount of rainfall here in Central Arkansas. 

At Gibson's Cat Cafe in Conway, owner Shelby Blacksmith explained that a torrential downpour is always nerve-racking.

"We have closed our doors or had delayed opening and 10 or 12 times now, a couple of those times were ankle-deep water," Blacksmith said.

When one of her employees came into work on Thursday, they noticed water had seeped through the walls.

It ruined a rug, some kitty toys and delayed her opening that morning.

"The cats are losing a lot of their belongings and a lot of their enrichment activities, we've had to throw away tall cat towers," she explained.

It has been a reoccurring issue that, over the past year, has cost her more than $5,000. She said she's told her landlord and they're aware of the issue.

However, she said the issue hasn't been resolved.

"We have not spoken to the owner, he has not shown his face, he has not called, he has a building right next door to us and has not stepped in to check on us," Blacksmith said.

As you can imagine, it has been quite frustrating and has hindered business.

"We also want people to have a safe place that they know is going to have a consistent open time and we can't provide that if we have standing water in our cafe," she added.

Blacksmith also explained how the constant flash floods hurt the heart of the city.

"Downtown Conway has nothing but small businesses, and if you don't take care of small businesses, downtown will sink," Blacksmith said.

She said that though she wants to keep her business where it's located right now, she will move if the problem isn't fixed.

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