Finger Lakes Hotel Holding Up After Sudden Storm
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"I was standing right here at this window and literally, I'm telling you the building shook,” said Jimmy Wulforst.
The caution tape that surrounds the entrance of the Hotel Clarence is a stark reminder of the destruction caused by a microburst that swept through the region more than a week ago.
"The rain was coming down in bucketfuls and I looked to my right and saw the awning of the hotel rip right off, so with that hail, heavy winds, it was just a nightmare,” said Wulforst, manager of the Hotel Clarence.
Hotel staff snapped pictures and took cell phone video of the storm, as golf ball sized hail piled up on the front steps.
"We were watching our cell phones because we had no power here and there were tornado warnings, tornado warnings, constantly coming across, so we were very mindful. We tried to keep the safety of our guests intact, keep them away from windows. We literally had to move guests to other hotels because we had no power and it was a huge inconvenience for them to stay at our property."
Wulforst says he's proud that staff remained calm and attentive to worried guests.
“I gotta tell you, my staff did a great job. They were calm we have policies if the power goes out, if there’s a disaster. Between getting flashlights out, we had bottles of water put aside it worked real well."
Wulforst says the storm damage forced the Hotel Clarence to completely shut down for four days. He says a restoration company out of Rochester was here the day after the storm, with more than 150 fans and 60 humidifiers, drying the floors and sucking the moisture out of the building.
"The biggest thing was the storm actually ripped up a portion of our roof which exposed that to the elements of the storm so as the roof was ripped up, we had water coming in, wherever it could,” Wulforst said. "I can’t tell you how much money was lost."
Bedford Falls Enterprises bought the hotel and spent several million dollars renovating it three years ago.
Wulforst says the insurance company is still assessing the cost of the damage, but expects it will be into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The hotel's Italian bistro and bar are back open for business and 30 of the Hotel Clarence's 48 rooms were not damaged, but with graduation and peak wedding season ramping up, Wulforst is working as feverishly as possible to have the hotel be fully operational by mid-July.
"It’s hurting business, but I’d rather get this done, the first time the right way,” he said. “We feel it’s a destination of the Finger Lakes, and our goal is to get this hotel back up and running as quickly as possible to full capacity this is our busy season."