Penticton clothing store owner Derek Adduono plays a piano that was salvaged from a flooded sister store in High River

Penticton clothing store owner Derek Adduono plays a piano that was salvaged from a flooded sister store in High River

Penticton store owner undeterred after Alberta flood

Since opening, Red Bag has been hit with a series of calamities, most recently flooding in High River, Alta.

It may seem like the business gods are trying to send a message to Penticton clothing store owner Derek Adduono, but he’s not listening.

The owner of Red Bag in June lost a sister store in High River, Alta., to flooding. It was just the latest in a series of setbacks that have hit the company since it opened. Following a trip there in July, however, the 29-year-old Adduono is counting his blessings.

“A lot of people have a really poor outlook on things right now and it’s really tough to see,” he said. “I’ve tried to tell as many people as I can, ‘You’re going to move on and you’re going to live your life and it’s not going to break you.’”

Red Bag sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories that are sourced ethically in Thailand and Nepal, and opened in High River in 2008. Adduono, who runs the business with his mom, then opened a second location in Creston in 2009.

The Creston store, which was relocated to downtown Penticton in 2011, was twice flooded by burst pipes, including just before Christmas 2010.

“It was like bathtub taps were turned on right over every light fixture and hole in the ceiling, and it was just pouring over all my new Christmas displays that I had just finished doing. It was horrible,” Adduono recalled.

“That was kind of bad, but not anything close to what happened (in High River), not a whole city being taken down by a river.”

The shop there, which was temporarily put out of business when a car smashed through the storefront in December, was overwhelmed by flood waters on June 20. The cleanup began almost two weeks later.

“Because we weren’t allowed in there for so long, there was a lot of mold growing on the walls and we had to throw out all of our fixtures, basically. We had to throw out bags and bags and bags of clothing and different kinds of merchandise,” Adduono said.

Insurance will cover the damage, but Red Bag will have to pay a “pretty substantial” deductible, he added, and it will likely be months before the store reopens.

Adduono has wondered if his business is jinxed, but doesn’t dwell on it. What upsets him more is the thought of the people who lost their lives, pets and homes in the Alberta floods, so quitting on Red Bag doesn’t seem right.

“Why would you want to give up?” he said. “Why would you want to try something else when it just got exciting?”