Teecycle.org still in business after flood

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Heavy rain ravaged southeastern Wisconsin last week. Tim Cigelske’s entire neighborhood was devastated by the flood, but no one could prepare him for what his house would look like for the next day.

Heavy rain ravaged most of southeastern Wisconsin last week. Tim Cigelske’s entire neighborhood was devastated by the flood, but no one could prepare him for what his house would look like for the next day.
Cigelske is the founder of Teecycle.org, a website and organization that sells gently used vintage T-shirts. He and his wife Jess live in the 4700 block of Woodruff Ave., near Hampton Road., in Whitefish Bay; an area that, according to the National Weather Service, received more than 12 inches of rain last Thursday. Teecycle.org functions out of the Cigelske’s home, the entire inventory of T-shirts was in the house at the time of the flood.
 “We were down in the Hales Corner area picking up my bike when the weather started to get nasty,” Cigelske said. “We ended up spending the night at my in-laws to wait out the storm.”
Cigelske, his wife Jess, his new born daughter Clara, and their dog Bella spent the night near Franklin. Cigelske relied on neighbors and friends from Twitter to let him know what was going on in his neighborhood.
“A friend I know from Twitter lives near by, and we had him check on our house right before we went to bed,” Cigelske said. “He said the water looked like it had come up a few feet based on the debris and water marks on the outside of the house, but we didn’t want to believe it at the time.”
Cigelske doesn’t have a basement in his house, when he and his wife Jess came home the next morning he found out that water had flooded his entire living space; the carpets, floor mats and floor boards were completely soaked with water.
“It looked like a river had flowed right through our house,” he said. “Because we didn’t have a basement, we always thought we were safe but this was unbelievable and completely overwhelming.”
Every room in Cigelske’s home was flooded. Cigelske had to completely remove the entire floor from his 1200 square-foot home. They had lived there three years, not long enough to be eligible for a home equity loan for repairs, Cigelske said, and the insurance company can’t help either.
Cigelski went to a contractor and is awaiting an estimate on the damage. Until then, he and his family are relying on the outpouring of support from the Milwaukee community.
“The support we’ve received has been tremendous,” he said. “Close friends and family and the Twitter community in Milwaukee is a big reason why we know we’ll get through this,” he said. “People have been so great, and helpful it’s like having a whole second family. I can’t tell you enough what it means to us.”
Most of Cigelski’s furniture was saved, and the Teecycle T-shirts remained safe in waterproof Tupperware containers and a large armoire in the dining room he said.
“We’re open for business, and I can’t believe the number of Teecycle shirts and subscriptions we have sold in the past week,” he said. “The outpouring of support there is incredible.”
Sue Spaight, vice president of account management and digital strategy at Meyer and Wallis, and a few other members of the Twitter community are planning a fundraiser to help cover the expenses.
“Helping is the obvious step,” Spaight said. “That is what people do here on Twitter. (Tim) is always helping others, and we’d love to help him and Jess."

According to Spaight, the fundraiser grew organically through conversations on Twitter. It is in the early stages of planning, but she hopes to have things finalized by early next week. Spaight posted a blog with a few details on the fundraiser this morning.
A Teecycle shirt sale is underway, and according to Tim purchasing Teecycle shirts is probably the best way to help until the estimate is received or the fundraiser is set up.
“The outpour is incredible; we can’t keep shirts on the website long enough. I couldn’t possibly overstate how much social media has helped spread the word about our situation. I feel overwhelmed with all these offers to help, and I feel like the least I could do is get someone a cool t-shirt to wear. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support.”

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To visit Cigelske’s blog and see more photos of the damage click here

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