Timmy Kendzierski is busier than ever. Though his bar, Ellicott Mills Brewing Co., which he has co-owned with Rick Winter since 1997, is closed from last month’s devastating flood, he calls his current life “hectic.”
“Our staff has been running around, volunteering, cleaning, and trying to work shifts where they can,” he said. “The restaurant industry is a very tight-knit community. We all go to each other’s places and take care of each other. So many people have reached out and let us know they’ve got open spots for us.”
Kendzierski says he has found solace in Maryland’s service industry, which has been supporting him and his staff since the flood. Like its neighboring businesses, Ellicott Mills’ to-do list from the damage is extensive—salvaging brewing equipment, replacing walk-ins and freezers, and re-plumbing a majority of its pipe system.
But, Kendzierski says, they were one of the luckier businesses in town.
“You know it’s bad when you feel lucky to only have a couple-hundred-thousand dollars in damage,” he said. “The further you get down the hill, the worse off they are.”
To show solidarity with other neighborhood bars and restaurants, Kendzierski and others have formed the Ellicott City Hospitality Association, something that was prompted by the flood but had been an idea for a while.
“This experience has made us realize that we are better as one voice when it comes to dealing with the county and other partnerships,” he says. “These are relationships we’ve had for the last 20 years.”
The event is just the latest example of how fellow service industry employees have been supporting Ellicott City businesses. From Alexander’s Tavern in Fells Point to The Greene Turtle in Westminster to Dock Street in Annapolis to Power Plant Live downtown, bars have been raising money, hiring bartenders, and hosting events to benefit recovery.
“I am not surprised because it’s Baltimore,” Kendzierski said. “That’s what people here do. You’ve got everyone from the little guy to the bigwigs offering up their help. This is a people-driven industry. People love our bartenders, servers, and kitchen staff and they need to make a living. To us, they are a more valuable asset than any building.”
As for next steps in the recovery process, Howard County has told business owners that it will start allowing pedestrian traffic on Main Street on September 20, and Kendzierski is anxious to get back into his space and start repairs.
“Rick and I have both worked there longer than we’ve lived in our homes,” he said. “Neither of us are old, but neither of us are young. We are incredibly invested in this space and ready to get back in there and start hammering away.”
The next event to benefit Ellicott Mills Brewing will take place at Della Rose’s in Nottingham on Sunday and donations can always be made to the ongoing GoFundMe campaign. Plus, see our continually updated list of ways to help Ellicott City businesses recover.