‘I’ve never seen anything like that’: Richmond businesses react after flood waters rush through their doors


Flash flooding shown outside of Ramen Spot on West Grace Street Thursday halfway submerges a car outside the business’s door. (Photo: Lihong Zhan)

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – Several businesses along Grace Street and North Harrison Street near the Virginia Commonwealth University were either closed Friday or still cleaning up from the flash flooding the area saw on Thursday.

A few buildings are closed on VCU’s Monroe campus due to damages caused by flooding. The Grace and Broad Residence Center and the Math Exchange will be closed until Monday. The Markel Center and Institute for Contemporary Art as well as Au Bon Pain will be closed until further notice.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, either as a business owner or student here in town,” said Brayden Pleasants, owner of Red Eye Cookie Co. and former VCU student.

Pleasants took a video Thursday showing several inches of water right outside his business. The water rushed inside and in one video, a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign can be seen floating in the floodwaters inside the cookie company store.

He said they worked to block the flooding as much as possible but still needed to close for some time Thursday. The store also lost some products due to the flooding.

“We tried to act quickly to move anything off of the floor, also used some flour bags from Ashland Flour for makeshift sandbags,” Pleasants said. “Just a little bit of lost product and a couple of hours down and we were back open in the evening.:

The flash flooding also affected KungFu Tea on West Grace Street. Assistant manager Maisie Gosnell said the water began to come into the building around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Thursday.

“It was pretty crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Gosnell told 8News in an interview Friday.

Gosnell said KungFu Tea got an inch of water on the floor that came through the front door. She said water was also coming through an unrepaired hole in the ceiling.

An employee mops the floor inside KungFu Tea on Grace Street after their store flooded Thursday. (Photo: Sharon Plata)

She said the area of Grace Street and North Harrison has flooded multiple times in the past.

“These sidewalks tend to flood really easily. If I’m being honest, I think it’s because the ground is unlevel,” Gosnell said. “I have other Snapchat videos of water just like pouring down over here.”

Gosnell said the majority of the flooding was centered on North Harrison.

“I was honestly just shocked. People were swimming in the flood water,” she said.

An employee at Ramen Spot, right next to KungFu Tea, sent 8News photos of the several inches of floodwaters outside their business. The photos also show water that had come through the doors at Ramen Spot.

Roots Natural Kitchen on West Grace Street was closed Friday, with a sign on their door letting customers know they are closed due to maintenance. The note said the business was assessing flood damage and inside, fans could be seen spread out on their floor to dry up the floodwaters.

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