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Minnesota River Flooding Causes Henderson Business Drought

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Businesses in the southern Minnesota town of Henderson are feeling the pinch because flooding is forcing roads to stay closed.

Henderson is about an hour southwest of the Twin Cities and sits along the Minnesota River.

RELATED: Sandbagging, Road Closures As Henderson Battles Spring Flooding

Highway 19 is closed between Highway 169 and the town. State Highway 93 is also closed from Hwy. 169 into town. So is County Road 6, making it only possible to reach the town from the west.

Toody's Sweet Treats in downtown Henderson is known for its generous portions, but owner Ruth Nytes has found it's hard to survive a customer drought.

"It sucks. I'm going say it, it sucks" Nytes said.

The rising Minnesota River closed the main routes into town on March 19. People are used to dealing with the levees going up for about two weeks a year. It's now at week five, and bills are piling up.

"You wait till the money is in the bank, then you pay the bill, and you go through your bills and you see which one can you pay next," Nytes said.

Henderson Minnesota
(credit: CBS)

Business is also down more than 50% at Wagar's Grocery across the street.

"It hurts. Anything that you've managed to put away for a rainy day, well the downpour has been happening for way too long," owner Barb Conrad said.

Businesses are looking for relief, but it won't come as soon as anyone would like. Even when the water recedes and the levee comes down, officials say there is so much structural damage on Hwy. 93 that it might take two to three weeks to repair. But there is better news over on Hwy. 19.

"I believe that once the water stops flowing across this part of Hwy. 19 and totally recedes off the blacktop, the shouldering will occur quickly and it will be open," Fire Chief Randy Tiegs said.

He expects that will be in about a week, but he knows the Henderson community hurts with each day that passes.

RELATED: Swift Action Taken In Henderson To Combat Floodwaters

"We will be very fortunate if we don't lose some businesses out of this," Tiegs said.

Business owners vow to stay the course and wish for better days ahead.

"I don't know who made Mother Nature mad, but I certainly wish they'd apologize," Tiegs said. "Groveling would be good about this point."

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