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Loyal customers help SF Mission District bookstore dry out from New Year's flood

SAN FRANCISCO – A small independent bookstore in San Francisco's Mission District has worked tirelessly to keep their doors open, as it continues to dry out from a storm on New Year's Eve. 

Flooding, combined with broken drainage pipes, turned the basement of Silver Sprocket on Valencia Street into a small lake. The store, which specializes in independent comics and graphic novels, estimates the flooding caused thousands of dollars in damages.

The flood ruined inventory and furniture. Mold is now a big problem.

"The interruption to business is the really horrible, costly part, but luckily our community really showed up to move all of our inventory really quick after we asked for help," owner Avi Ehrlich told KPIX.

Ehrlich put out that call for help on social media.

"If you've got rainboots and muscles and can help us out, we need help right now," he recalled of his post.

"About 30 people showed up over the next hour, and helped bring up all these boxes that are around us. They made a fire line from the basement to the back of the store and just passed boxes to each other. It was incredibly sweet and heartwarming," Ehrlich said.

Ehrlich said the flood also forced the store to pause its online operation. They didn't have anything to package mail-orders and they stopped promoting products. 

"We just ended up going for a couple weeks with barely any sales at all. We still have to pay for all our employees, our rent, our overhead, new books we're publishing," he said. "Everything just kind of ground to a halt. And it's still pretty scary, we still don't really know how we're going to pay our bills this month."

While the exact financial losses are not yet known, Ehrlich said he's incredibly thankful for the longtime customers and strangers who got them to this point.

"I just really appreciate it. I think people just know that we're a small independent operation and we don't have the resources of a Barnes & Noble or Amazon."

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