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“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing:” Ruidoso Emporium destroyed by floods, over $1 million in estimated damages

RUIDOSO, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Many homes and businesses survived the devastating wildfires in Ruidoso last month, only to now be destroyed by intense flooding that’s continuing to hit the region.

The Ruidoso Emporium is one of these businesses.

The store has been a mainstay for those that live in the village, as well as for people all over the country traveling.

One could stop by, grab an antique or curio from one of the 30-plus vendors, or simply browse the vast collection it offered.

The emporium survived the South Fork and Salt Fires, which burned over 1,400 structures, but it was hit hard by flooding that came directly after.

Water moved everything that was in its way down the hills, and right into the back wall of the store.

All of the mud, burned trees, and various debris from the Salt Fire swiftly moved through the entire building, and burst out the front.

Some of those vendors ABC-7 spoke to say they’ve never seen this kind of devastation in Ruidoso.

"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Maggie Schumpert, a vendor at the emporium.

She has lived in Ruidoso for 35 years, and for the last few, has been making extra cash on the side by selling items on consignment at the store.

She said she’s lost between 40 and 50 thousand dollars worth of merchandise.

“It’s been hard for all of us as vendors, as this is our second income, this is my second income, so I lost a lot," she said.

"We all lost a lot.”

Schumpert's losses are just a fraction of the $1 million-plus in losses that’s estimated by emporium manager and partner Chris Patterson.

“We lost cases that were you know, three foot wide, and just in that small area, there were $25,000, $30,000 worth of product in one case, and we lost 70 cases in here," he said.

The flooding also led to the layoff of three emporium employees.

"It cost a lot of people their second income, we had a lot of retired people [working] here. Now they’re jobless, and it’s just sad. It makes me feel sad," said Patterrson.

However, some items survived, including many of the goods located on the second story.

Vendors have been stopping by to recover what they can to hopefully sell in the future.

“If we can save the building, we’re gonna rebuild and we’re gonna reopen," said Patterson.

Schumpert says the tightness, love, and compassion that continues in the Village of Ruidoso gives her the stamina to pick up the pieces.

“It’s helped me a lot. I’ve had my tears, but now I’m ready to get back on the horse, and keep riding.”

Article Topic Follows: Ruidoso Wildfires

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Jason McNabb

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist & ABC-7 Weekend Primetime Anchor


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