Brenda Purifoy wipes down a table at the Sandbar restaurant Friday afternoon. The restaurant is scheduled to reopen for business at 11 a.m. Saturday morning after being closed for a week-and-a-half due to flood damage. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)
Brenda Purifoy wipes down a table at the Sandbar restaurant Friday afternoon. The restaurant is scheduled to reopen for business at 11 a.m. Saturday morning after being closed for a week-and-a-half due to flood damage. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Marina restaurant reopens after flood waters recede

Published 7:53pm Friday, April 18, 2014

The owners of The Sand Bar restaurant were forced to close their business earlier this month because of the rising waters of the Alabama River, but they took advantage of that time to make some much-needed improvements.

Co-owner Gordon Mclendon said the restaurant should be open for business at 11 a.m. Saturday for the first time since it closed on April 8 after two feet of floodwater swept through the building.

“We had ServPro come out and they had this place all cleaned up and sanitized by Tuesday of this week, but we needed to do the upgrades,” Mclendon said. “We just took an extra couple of days to make some upgrades, including increasing seating capacity inside and out, because we do feel like our customers will be here a lot this summer and we don’t want them to have to wait for a table.”

New furniture inside the restaurant has increased seating capacity, while additional tables have doubled the number of people who can enjoy a meal or beverage outside.

Even though the restaurant has been open less than two years, this is the second consecutive spring high water has caused a closure — something Mclendon said he, co-owner David Pearce Jr., and all of their employees have taken in stride.

“We’ve been on the river our entire lives. It’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen. Mother Nature decided she wanted to wash off her banks, and you can’t fight Mother Nature,” Mclendon said. “We might be getting a rough start to the year, just like last year, but I think we are in shape to have a big year.”

Mclendon said since flood insurance can’t be purchased on a building that stands in a floodplain, he and Pearce have had to pay nearly $10,000 out of pocket to get the business cleaned and ready for customers.

Brenda Purifoy, who was busy wiping down tables and organizing condiment bottles Friday afternoon, said she was ready for customers to start filing through the doors Saturday.

“We’ve got everything in shape and in order so we are ready to serve our customers,” Purifoy said. “We’ve restocked the shelves.”

Purifoy, who has lived in Selma her whole life, said she has never seen a flood like the one earlier this month.

“Honestly, I didn’t know the river could rise as much as it did in one day. It was just amazing,” Purifoy said.

Mclendon said the business is ready for a busy period ahead, despite the recent flood.

“We’ve got the Battle of Selma coming up. We’ve got the [Class 1A-3A State Track Championships] the first weekend of May and several bass tournaments coming in May, and we feel like we’ll be ready for it,” Mclendon said. “The food should be the exact same, and the service should be the same or better.”

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