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Monday’s floods devastated San Diego business owners

The Grantville Station Business Park on Mission Gorge Road is right next to a part of the San Diego River. After Monday’s flooding, water overflowed the concrete barriers and caused major damage to all the businesses in the park.

These businesses, like many in San Diego County, do not have flood insurance to cover their losses.

Why it matters

California Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner Michael Soller said flooding like this is becoming more common.

“Climate change (is) exacerbating extreme weather conditions. Communities (are) seeing flooding that have never seen it before. Unfortunately that’s not the time you want to learn that your homeowner’s or business insurance doesn’t cover flooding. But that’s something that a lot of people find out,” Soller said.  

TRVLR Coffee Roaster and One Season Brewing owner Dan Romeo says his business had never really recovered from the pandemic, and was actually in the process of selling some of its assets.

“But now, they’re worthless. Everything here just got destroyed,” Romeo said. “I’m in the middle of just trying to put the pieces together and trying to salvage whatever can be salvaged over the next couple weeks. I don’t have flood insurance, so this is all just a massive loss.”  

Romeo says he doesn’t have the funds for repairs and has to close down.

Native Poppy is another business in the park and its founder Natalie Gill said their warehouse looked like an aquarium.

“I opened the door, water just like rushed out and all of our merchandising, gifts and supplies were just rushing by me,” Gill said. “The whole warehouse was filled with 3 feet of water. You can see the water lines in here, there like waist high.”

The first call Gill made was to her insurance broker.

“I was panicking. I mean, without flood insurance — and he said even if we did have flood insurance, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything would be covered,” Gill said. “I think for so many San Diegans right now, this was a disaster. I don’t think anybody knows how to proceed.”

By the numbers

Gill and Romeo each estimate at least $100,000 dollars in damage. And Native Poppy is still recovering from a car crashing into one of their flower shops a year and a half ago.

“For some reason this feels different. This feels sadder, heavier,” Gill said.

Closer look

The Insurance Information Institute recommends reporting damages to San Diego County. The county is collecting a damage assessment survey so they can assess the extent of the damage and advocate to the state and federal governments for assistance. You can access the survey here.

Looking ahead

Representative Juan Vargas issued the following statement to KPBS:

“I witnessed the extensive damage caused by the recent storm and since only 8,128 out of 1.15 million households in San Diego County have flood insurance, many in the 52nd Congressional District could face significant challenges in covering damages,” Vargas said. “We need to use all available tools to respond to this emergency, and that’s why my office has been communicating with FEMA and the White House on the potential for federal assistance for affected residents.”

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