Where there once was a thriving credit union there is now a beautiful flower shop. The change from dollars to flowers stems as a result of the 2011 flood that devastated much of Minot.
GEM Federal Credit Union had long operated at 405 E, Central Ave. GEM halted business to move out of the way of a possible flood June 1, 2011. The basement was emptied and items were moved to countertops and other high-resting places in the building. On June 6, 2011, the City of Minot issued the "all clear" which allowed evacuees to go back. Then, on June 20, 2011, word came to move once more.
"We had to get out. We emptied the building," said Cassia Dahl, GEM president. "We used two flatbeds and two enclosed trailers. We filled the Prairie Federal Credit Union garage. We got 99 percent of everything out."
Flower Central now occupies the former GEM Federal Credit Union building, still making use of the sign that survived the 2011 flood.
This June 24, 2011, photograph shows water on the rise at GEM Federal Credit Union at 405 E. Central Ave. in Minot. The water would eventually reach over 7 feet deep. Surprisingly, the lighted sign remained on throughout the flood.
According to Dahl, GEM was told that electricity was shut off to the empty building. However, the exterior sign continued to show time and temperature even after floodwaters rushed into the area.
"The sign worked the whole time. When the water was going down and law enforcement took us in there, they had to unhook the electricity at the pole," said Dahl.
Strangely, exterior lights that were set to operate by a timer continued to function throughout the duration of the flood even though they were underneath the water.
"One of the patrol guys was going by in a metal boat and looked down at the lights," recalled Dahl.
Flooded out and with business on hold, GEM made the decision to find a new location so that they could serve customers as soon as possible. They made the move to 2401 N. Broadway, a property that previously housed a Mexican restaurant and then a bank.
"It's been excellent. We have had a wonderful response from all of our members. They have been very responsive to our move and like our building," said Dahl. "Things went very well for us."
With water still in their basement, GEM sold its building to a renovation company. Today a new business, Flower Central, is flourishing at the location. Flower Central is a full-service floral shop.
At the side of the building is a covered port where credit union customers used to take advantage of drive-through services. Out front still stands the sign that survived the 2011 flood, alternately displaying time and temperature. Inside is the smell of recovery, fresh flowers that signify the emergence of a new business in an area hit hard by the 2011 flood.