The sound of items landing softly into the basket of a shopping cart isn’t exactly rare, but it’s welcome for the owners of Botan Market in south Nashville.
Last month, they lost over $300,000 worth of inventory to flash flooding just before their busiest month of the year, Ramadan.
They had just stocked up ahead of the holiday, when the market makes about four times what it would in a regular month. They thought it would take months before they could reopen. The store had also sustained significant damage during the 2010 flood, and Tovi says it was closed about six months following that disaster.
“To have to overcome the flood again — and you know the natural disaster swept away most of everything — around a time like Ramadan it was heartbreaking,” said Helan Tovi, whose family owns Botan Market.
Instead, the support poured in — and not just from the Kurdish community. Neighboring businesses brought by food and checked in on the family. People from across Nashville donated their time and money, some even while fasting.
As a result, the repairs and replacements took just a few weeks.
“It’s honestly a blessing,” Tovi said, “It honestly makes me emotional to know that there’s people out here helping and that there’s people that care.”
Botan Market held its grand re-opening Friday. It wasn’t in time for the start of Ramadan, but it is still ahead of the celebration marking the end, Eid al-Fitr.
Customers are grateful to have their favorite market back up and running. Ihsan Tunceren is originally from Turkey and says he’s been a loyal customer for three years.
He says he prefers shopping there over anywhere else because of the “friendly people, and everything I can find in my country, I can find it here.”
There are still some tough decisions ahead, like whether to move the market to a new location or to raise the building up to avoid more flood damage in the future.
But for now, Tovi and her family are focusing on the immediate: waiting for more stock to come in, a new sink, a permanent cash register. They’re putting their family business back together one piece at a time.