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Punta Gorda Mercantile temporarily shut down after faulty toilet floods store

A toilet flooded the 9,000-square foot storefront.
Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 18:27:16-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The Punta Gorda Mercantile has temporarily closed its doors after a faulty toilet flooded the store overnight Saturday.

The store is home to over 200 vendors that sell handmade art, jewelry, paintings and other creations in booths. After the flood was discovered, those artists will be unable to make sales until the repairs to the store are complete.

"We walked in and we found a flood, immediately not three feet into the store we were standing in an inch of water," said co-owner Shannon Ball.

Immediately ball told her vendors, like Susan Lamb of Spotted Stone, that the store would need to close.

"Her words were 'the whole building is flooded' and my heart just sank," said Lamb.

Ball said most of the merchandise was undamaged, but it was still moved to higher ground and wrapped in plastic as a precaution.

Carpet that lined the store has been torn out, water damaged drywall is being repaired, fans and dehumidifiers are running to dry out the store.

Ball said what bothers her the most about the flood is that the vendors that call her store home won't be able to make sales for the time being.

"Our vendors rely on this income," said Ball. "They rent space from us and sell their items, and that's how they make their money,"

Ball has created a GoFundMe to help offset losses the vendors face while the store is being repaired.

"We really want to help our vendors, they mean the world to us, they really do," said Ball.

There is no set date for when the store will re-open, Ball expects to be closed for at least two weeks.