Owners of flooded business raise funds, find jobs for employees

Owners of Roam have had their business engulfed by floodwater. But with the help of several Quad Cities businesses, they are putting employees first.
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- At Saturday's Floodapalooza, a fundraiser hosted by Roam and several Quad Cities businesses, it was all about Roam's employees, or those that had been working at the restaurant before floodwaters engulfed it on April 30.

It wasn't just about the proceeds all going towards the two dozen employees.

"It’s been good to see some of my friends that I haven’t  seen in a while,"said Ry Schulz who has been with Roam as a server since it opened just last December.

That night the Hesco barrier broke, he was working for Roam at private event away from the restaurant's downtown location.

A manager pulled up the video showing the restaurant five, six feet under water that night, he recalled. Several employees gathered around, watching incredulously.

"We couldn’t believe what was happening. We couldn’t believe our eyes."

Schulz said watching the video, it hit him hard. Roam is like family, he said. Only later did it sink in that when his friends, Roam owners Griffin and Dylan Steil, lost their business, he had lost a job he loved.

"This is probably the last time I'll be working for Roam in a while," he thought at the time.

To his surprise, his sudden unemployment, and that of two dozen co-workers,  was the brothers' first order of business.

"Within 48 hours they had a list of about 14 places that were hiring in the area," Schulz told News 8.  "That was, I thought, overwhelming. These places didn’t come to Dylan and Griffin. Personally, they reached out to these businesses."

"That’s pretty incredible that they put their employees in front of their own needs. You have to imagine what they’re going through. It’s something they’ve been working so hard and invested so much of their time."

"They put our needs first which I’m blessed to work for people like that," he said.

The Floodapalooza fundraiser Saturday wasn't something he expected, but another perk of working for the Steil brothers.

Co-owner Griffin Steil worried it wasn't enough. He and his brother have also set up a GoFundMe page to help their employees over this difficult period.

"It seems like a big number, when we’re fundraising and stuff, but when you split it among 25 people, that’s not much for them, and that’s hard," he added.

"They have rent to pay, car payments to pay and they woke up one morning and they didn’t have a job. This is all just to help them get into new jobs, get them placed until we're open," he said, adding that the brothers had insurance to help them get back on their feet.

Businesses that haven’t been affected by the flood have jumped at the chance to help. Sponsors of Floodapalooza included London Place in Davenport, Bella Salon, Catherine's + Paul's, Bettendorf Chiropractic Wellness Center, The Bag Broker, Bello Barber, and Family Care Solutions Home Health & Supports.

"Really, small business is all about helping out your neighbor," said Catherine Champion, owner of Catherine's + Paul's, a retail store.

Schulz has found a temporary gig as a bartender at Bierstube in Moline. It was one of the busineses the Steil brothers had sent out in a list to their employees.
But the minute Roam is back open, Schulz said he will be back to work.

"As Dylan said, Roam 2.0. It’s gonna be better than ever," he said.

Roam owners expect to be back in business in four months.