The Bagel Shop reopened Friday after a week spent cleaning up the aftereffects of last Saturday’s flooding on East End Road.
On Aug. 26, owner Mikela Aramburu arrived at about 6 a.m. to get the shop ready to open. It was raining torrentially, but otherwise everything was normal, she told Homer News on Aug. 31.
“At about 7:40, my two employees called me to say, ‘Hey, the road is blocked, we’re going to have to park at the Gear Shed,” Aramburu said. “I hung up and looked out the window toward East End, and it was like the dam had broke.”
Aramburu described the sight as a rapid river of brown water and sticks heading right for The Bagel Shop.
“I was boiling bagels, and Mikela was like ‘Oh my god, come look,’” said co-owner Gabe Chapin. “I finished what I was doing and went over to look and said ‘Oh my gosh.’ I wasn’t expecting that.”
As the water level rose outside and began flooding the interior of the shop, Aramburu and Chapin did their best to contain the incoming water, which seeped into the main service area and dining room as well as the shop’s dry storage area.
“At that point, we’re like ‘OK, we obviously can’t open, there’s an inch of muddy water in the shop,’” Aramburu said. “We sit below the road, so we’ve had problems over the years but we’ve never been flooded before.”
Luckily, Aramburu said, The Bagel Shop is housed in a “pretty industrial” old auto shop, and other than cleaning up the muddy water that made its way into the building, the damage was minimal.
“The building can handle it, nothing needs to be replaced,” she said. “The extent of our losses were vegetables and food, because we lost that time of being open.”
Aramburu and Chapin both also credited their neighbor for using a front-end loader to berm off the driveway, preventing more debris from washing down into the parking lot.
“We were very lucky to have a skilled heavy equipment operator sharing the building,” Chapin said. “He really saved us. Shoutout to Bob from Chugach Salmon Company.”
The flooding of The Bagel Shop was part of a larger flood event that occurred on East End Road last Saturday.
Alaska Department of Transportation central region administrative operations manager Justin Shelby told Homer News that on Aug. 26 around 7 a.m., Homer police notified DOT that there was water on the road at Mile 3.6. Crews responded at that time to clear the road.
At 8:15 a.m., Shelby said, a second small mudslide occurred at Mile 6.5. DOT crews continued working and had the road cleared by 9:50 a.m. Crews also cleared out a culvert at Mile 6.5 that had been plugged around noon.
Shelby said that DOT remained on-site, working to haul away debris and monitor the area until 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. They assessed East End Road again on Sunday, Aug. 27 and found there to be no other issues.
The Bagel Shop remained closed nearly a week after the flood event, with both owners and their staff working to clean up the mess left behind and waiting for the parking lot to finish drying out. Nevertheless, Aramburu and Chapin both seemed in high spirits the Thursday before they reopened the shop.
“Wear your Xtra Tuffs to get a bagel!” Chapin joked.
Aramburu said on the day of the flood they and their staff were “all wearing kitchen clogs, out in knee-deep water moving tables.”
“It was also Gabe’s birthday (that day),” she said. “There was cake. We needed cake that day.”