When a sprinkle becomes a flood

Bailing his business out has been the nearly constant focus of A Robin's Nest co-owner Shane Allerheiligen ever since a city sprinkler came on May 10 — and never shut off — flooding the basement of the Main Street antique mall in feet of water.

"It's been just a horrible experience and I wouldn't wish it on anybody," Allerheiligen said this week.

After nearly three months of remediation, though, Allerheiligen is ready to let customers back into the basement portion of the business in a grand reopening event scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31.

That day, perusers will get to enjoy light hors d'oeuvres, some giveaways and extended hours — all in recognition of the progress made since the flood.

It's also being held on Labor Day weekend, often one of the biggest of the year for the business, Allerheiligen said, noting that some 60% of their customers come from out of town.

The basement of the business features lots of independent vendors who rent out the space. After the flood, the building's owner tore out a wall in the basement, meaning there's now an extra 300 square feet of space for stuff on sale.

Allerheiligen thinks he'll still be dealing with the aftermath of the flood — which he's "basically put all of his time into" since the deluge — into September.

He said he and his Denver-based landlord received some money from the city after the flood, by way of what the city calls "Good Neighbor policies" — not settlements, technically — and that has allowed for new carpet, some removed tiles, and a new paint job.

"It's a little bit, but it's not going to cover the whole thing," Allerheiligen said of the city payment.

Allerheiligen's insurance policy is with Liberty Mutual, who thus far has refused to pay his claim, denying payment because of the modest deal agreed to with the city, he says.

"It just irks me that the insurance that you pay thousands and thousands of dollars for every year is declining to pay out, based on the city's Good Neighbor policy," Allerheiligen said.

"We're at least $20,000 short, when it's all said and done," he estimated, adding that his landlord has taken a similar hit.

Since the flood, Allerheiligen said they've added a second sump pump and done some moisture barrier painting, and there hasn't been any more water damage since May — "Knock on wood."

"The biggest fear is, 'Oh my god, I hope this doesn't happen again,'" he said.

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