As the Planada area continues to recover from the impacts of recent flooding, a number of residents and businesses are finding help and camaraderie as they work together to restore their town.
Along the Broadway street corridor — one of the harder-hit areas during the flood — many residents are inspired with hope by the work they are seeing between the Merced company Centurion Boats and other volunteers who are helping to rebuild Deanna’s Hair Salon, a popular business in town that suffered major water damage.
Last Saturday, the crew with Centurion Boats began moving in cabinets, placing counter tops, and painting the walls as they approached the finals steps of a relatively quick restoration project.
As the workers put on the finishing touches, salon owner Deanna Adame appeared at the front doors to see her shop for the first time since the flood. Adame was filled with gratitude.
It just so happens that Centurion Boats executive Shane Stillman first met Adame in high school, and he currently lives in the Planada area. They reconnected, and last November, he started visiting the salon for haircuts. Stillman’s most recent haircut took place just a week prior to the flood as he prepared for his daughter’s wedding.
Recalling the initial moments of the flood, Adame noted that she didn’t have any advance warning of exactly how bad it was going to be.
“My son called me and ask if I was doing anything about the flooding, and it was at that time that I first realized that it was going to affect my salon,” Adame recalled. “I got in the car and headed to the Fire Station on McKee where he was going to fill sandbags for his house as he lives near Black Rascal. I filled about 20 bags. My car couldn’t hold anymore.”
By the time she arrived in Planada, the streets were already flooded and quickly getting worse. Adame pushed on to her salon in an attempt to protect her longtime business and source of income.
“By the time I was able to get to my salon, I had to park my car about 60 feet away hand carry the 50-pound sandbags to the salon, and the water was rising,” Adame recalled. “A neighbor from across the street saw what I was doing and came to help with the sandbags. At this point I was walking in over knee deep in water.”
Despite her and her neighbor’s best efforts, Adame would make her way to the salon in the morning to find that the building had taken on around 4 feet of water.
“My building is a lot older than I’ve been there, which is going on 33 years for me. It is made of wood and does not have stucco,” said Adame. “Needless to say it sucked up so much water that it was only a day or two and you could already see the mold growing.”
In the days after the flood, Adame said she was wracked with emotions and sadness, but that she couldn’t cry as she was still in shock.
“This was where I made my money. If I have no place to go to work then there is no money,” said Adame. As she took some time to just look around the shop, the full gravity began of the situation began to hit her. “One of those big unexpected wails came over me — Deanna’s Hair Salon was my baby, I was 20 years old when I opened it.”
At the time, the going rate for haircuts was only $7, and she had worked tirelessly to build up both her salon and clientele. Over the course of years, she had successfully brought her dream to fruition through handwork. “My life in this industry at times is challenging, especially when my kids were little. They are all grown now. I am the head of household for my family and working a lot to help my youngest son Isaiah go to school in New York City at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts.”
Despite the tragedy that was occurring in front of her, Adame had other medical matters to attend to. It was as if everything that could go wrong was going wrong.
After becoming aware of the situation facing his high school buddy, Stillman had requested to see the inside of the shop to survey the damage from the floodwaters, which were high enough to reach up to counter height in some areas. After assessing the workload and determining the size of the crew that would be needed, Stillman made his way back to Centurion Boats.
As a local business, Centurion Boats regularly donates employee time, skill sets, and other resources to local charitable causes. The company is part of Correctcraft, a Florida-based corporation, and has a strong focus on community support and creating a culture of giving back.
“While I was in the hospital, I learned that Shane got the keys to my Salon from my sister Lucrisia. She sent me a message that said, ‘Shane doesn’t want you to worry about the shop. He wants you to rest and get better.’”
Lucrisia began sending her photos of the crew working to remove wet drywall and clearing out anything that had been damaged, including hair product, makeup, tools and anything that was within 4 feet of the floor at the time of the flood.
After stepping into her salon for the first time since the flood, Adame had tears in her eyes.
“I felt like it is going to be more beautiful than before,” she said. “God has been good to me. All I know is that Shane and his crew are a godsend.”