Two weeks after Tropical Storm Lee struck earlier this month, Tom Longo was still rearranging damaged equipment and clearing debris outside his office building at the intersection of Beaver Run Lane and York Road.
As the national recession continues to hammer small business owners, the storms of the past month have only added to their woes.
Just ask Longo.
Longo lost two of his three tenants—S&S Appliance Outlet and Harvest Life Changers Worship Center—following heavy flooding, which caused major damages to homes and small businesses throughout Cockeysville and the Baltimore region. The loss of the appliance store was particularly painful, since he owned it for two decades before selling it six months ago.
"This place looks good compared to what it was when the flood first hit," Longo said after assessing cleanup efforts. "I've owned this property for over 20 years and its never been this bad."
Longo said the intersection has seen its share of flooding in recent years, most recently as July. He partially blames Baltimore County government for not addressing the problem.
Longo said the expansive parking lots built by such larger businesses cause excessive runoff that results in more frequent and damaging flooding from Beaver Run Dam stream, which runs between two of his buildings.
Steve Rosen, who owns Mark Downs Office Furniture, located at the same intersection, agrees with Longo, stating that the county needs to be accountable for the damages.
"There is no cure," Rosen said. "The county needs to buy these properties, condemn them and help us relocate."
As a result of the flood caused by Tropical Storm Lee, Rosen lost two delivery trucks, computers, fixtures and office furniture he had hoped to sell. Still, he is continuing to operate his business.
"The water was about 15 inches across," he said. "I have never had so much water in that building and I've been through eight floods."
Kiran Bhavsar, owner of a local U-Haul franchise, said he lost seven trucks and "lots of boxes and inventory."
"We're planning to open back up," Bhavsar said. "But it's going to be at least another month."
The flooding had initially discouraged Ozzie Mehdizadeh, owner of Side Street Cafe, from reopening. Mehdizadeh, who had recently finished $25,000 worth of renovations following damage from a July 7 flood, told Patch immediately after the flood that "we're done."
But Mehdizadeh said he had no choice but to stay put after considering the costs of moving. His restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-October.
"If you put your heart into something for 13 years, would you close?" Mehdizadeh asked. "I have a young daughter."
He said Baltimore County government needs to step up and help the businesses damaged by the flooding. County and state officials have not yet tallied the economic impact of the storm and Hurricane Irene.
"How many of these floods are we going to go through?," he said. "Are they going to sacrifice us? Are they going to help us move? They need to let us know their plans."
Baltimore County's Chief of Public Safety Information Elise Armacost said the county is eager to assist those facing flood damage.
"We're asking people to notify us if they are facing specific damages," Armacost said. "Certainly, if there are people who are suffering, we want to know about it."
David Thomas, a spokesman for Baltimore County's Department of Public Works, is specifically working with the business owners in recovery efforts.
"I've been to the site, and I know it's bad." Thomas said. "We're exploring all options right now."
District 3 Councilman Todd Huff is also talking to owners regarding property damage.
"I know it's frustrating for them but we are trying to resolve this as efficiently as we can," Huff said.
But the business owners know the process won't be easy.
"I'm waiting on a miracle," Mehdizadeh said.