GARNER, Ky. (LEX 18) — You won’t find much in Garner, Kentucky besides the storied buildings of the Watts Bargain Barn.
Pointing out the structures lining Garner’s main strip, local Ronnie Watts said, “I own this one here, and my son-in-law and daughter have a body shop next door. These are the only two businesses in Garner.”
Since 1964, it’s been the Watts family selling furniture, repairing appliances, and keeping the one-street community on the map.
“I just tried to be helpful and serve people,” said Watts. “We’d reach out to several counties…Letcher, Perry, Pike, Floyd. We have customers all over, and we’ve been successful over the years. I thank God for that.”
According to Watts, just days before the flood he had more inventory than he’d ever had before.
“I invested everything I ever accumulated into this business,” said Watts.
Once the flooding hit, practically nothing was left.
“I’m more in debt than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m 72 years old.”
Floodwaters ravaged 80% of the Watts Bargain Barn stock. Unopened boxes of new furniture and appliances were destroyed, and family memories were left in the muck now covering the original floors.
“It looked like a warzone,” said Watts. “Stuff turned upside down, fridges on their tops, boxes turned over, appliances laying on their sides. I’m gonna say I probably lost $100,000.”
Despite the hardship, Watts and his family and friends have spent the last eight days sifting through the mess. From sunup to sundown, they’re on the road to rebuilding.
Loading up a wheelbarrow, Watts paused, “It looks almost impossible right now.”
Watts admitted to having a hard time asking others for help, but he knows the extra support is essential.
“Hopefully I can get a small business loan or something,” said Watts. “I’m just gonna sit and wait, see what happens.”
The faster Watts Bargain Barn rebuilds and restocks, the sooner they can return to serving the community.
“We’re tough, mountain people are tough. We all stick together. One thing about mountain people, we all stick together. With the help of the good Lord, we’ll make it through this,” said Watts, returning to his wheelbarrow.
The family asks for monetary support and physical labor from anyone who feels called to help. You can find their donation site here Fundraiser by Nick Watts : Watts Bargain Barn Flood Relief (gofundme.com)