HARDIN, Ill. — Many businesses in Calhoun County are hoping to make up for lost time following the second highest flood on record in the area.
Shops and restaurants in Hardin had to close their doors for months because of rising waters.
On Saturday, Mel's Illinois Riverdock Restaurant reopened for the first time since the end of May. Lauren King, whose family owns the restaurant, said business was "great. Getting back to a normal scene again."
The restaurant sits right along the Illinois River. In May, the flooding forced the business to close.
"It was rough. Four kids and no income, but we managed," King said.
She and her family feared they would lose their business forever.
"We didn't have enough help building the wall, so that was a point where we were done," she said. "We didn't think we could save it."
But then the community stepped in.
"We had boaters coming and grabbing the sandbags from the other side and we had everybody sandbagging out on the street building it," she said.
They were able to save their restaurant and keep the floodwaters from getting into the building. Now, weeks later, the seats that had sat empty in her family's restaurant are filled with loyal customers again.
"It was a blessing that we kept it out," King said. "We fought. We fought it. We won."
But this isn't the first challenge the restaurant has faced in its 25 years. Back in 1993, Mel's Riverdock was hit by the historic flood. Four years ago, it was destroyed by a fire.
"We can fight just about anything. We've been through a lot," she said.
Despite all of these tragedies, King and her family said they're hopeful for the future. They said that nothing, including the constant flooding, will ever keep them out of business.
"We hope all our friends come back to see us," King said. "We get a lot of boaters and bikers, so it would be really hard to move our location."
There's still a challenge for many businesses in Hardin because the city is practically cut off from the rest of the world. With parts of the highway into town still underwater, people have to take a ferry into town.
However, people 5 On Your Side spoke with on Saturday said they're optimistic the city will recover.