Joanie Steil was with her sons, Dylan and Griffin, when their downtown Davenport restaurant Roam flooded in a matter of minutes as the temporary flood wall breached.
"When we ran out and got ourselves to safety, the first thing the boys said was, 'what about our staff and employees?'" she said. "They had this dream of a business, and worked hard to bring a group of like-minded people together to work together. And so that was their first worry. I could tell how much it impacted them."
A few feet of water remains inside the bar and restaurant, which opened in December. Roam's 25 employees are out of their regular jobs until the restaurant dries out enough owners can start to rebuild.
Dylan Steil said they started a GoFundMe page to raise money to supplement their employees' paychecks. They've also been working with other businesses throughout the Quad-Cities to find them temporary work.
"People rely on that paycheck and those tips," he said.
And now, a group of Davenport businesses is combining their efforts to support the displaced employees. On Saturday, several businesses in the area of London Place in Davenport, 4893 Utica Ridge Road, will host a fundraiser, Floodapalooza.
"We'll only be accepting donations. And the goal is to raise enough money to get all of the employees squared away for around two months' of average pay," she said. "The rest of the money, Roam would like to take that and donate to other employees at other businesses that have lost business due to this."
In addition, one of Davenport's newest retail shops, Catherine's & Paul's is selling T-shirts with proceeds donated to the employees.
Designed by local artists and WodThreads, the shirts feature imagery related to the flood and sayings, such as "When in Roam" and "There's no place like Roam."
"The designer did the best job, and everything is 100 percent local," said owner Catherine Champion. "The designer really brought them to life with really whimsical things, while touching upon the gravity of the flood."
From 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday's fundraiser will feature live music, silent auctions, a raffle, face painting, a bounce house and food trucks. Joanie Steil said Streets of Italy, another restaurant displaced by the flood, will sell food out of its catering truck to raise money for its own employees.
She said the nearby YMCA and other businesses are offering parking for the event.
"It's the test of people when they come out in times of hardship. And it's been overwhelming how supportive the community has been," she said. "It makes you realize the good human spirit is still alive and well. It's not gone."
Dylan Steil is encouraging Quad-City residents and visitors to continue shopping at open businesses and supporting downtown Davenport.
"These people have given their lives to giving to the community through hospitality, and it's now time for the community to give back," he said. "The downtown's resilient. It's been amazing to see the outflow of support and the love. That's what's so cool. It's about the community as a whole."