THE final store still closed by Ilminster’s shock floods is set to start trading again on Thursday as the town prepares to declare itself open for business.

Silver Street Dairy has remained closed until this week as owners relaid the floor to meet the hygiene standards required for a food business.

Caroline Speke, who owns the Silver Street Dairy, said: “We are going to be having a grand re-opening on Thursday.

“When we were forced to close by the flooding, we thought the shop would reopen again within a couple of weeks. We have had to put that back until August 31.

“Being a food business, we have to make sure that everything is done right.”

Retail Therapy, the dairy shop’s neighbours, were able to re-open three weeks ago, but owners say they are still feeling the effects of the closure.

Mia Hewitt, the Ilminster branch’s manager, said: “We lost three weeks of business, so you are looking at £5,000 a week, so there was a loss there.

“There was an expense with getting things together with the insurance people.

“We had the floors up and big commercial driers in, and the walls were still a little bit damp.

“The longer you stay shut, the longer people think you have evacuated the town for good – we are still getting the backlash of that.

“It is incredibly hard work. we are chuffed to bits that we are open again.”

While the town is definitely open for business again, business owners are now turning their attention to stop devastating floods from happening in the future. This includes a petition supported by Retail Therapy calling on South Somerset District Council to clean the drains once a year, instead of once every four years.

“Now we want to make sure we don’t have any further events.

“It is a big disruption and you just worry about the next flood every time it rains.

“We are feeling unnerved.”

This isn’t the first time Retail Therapy has been forced to close after the store was shut by floods two years ago.

Mia added: “Two years ago we were flooded and we were actually shut for three months.

“Now we have got sandbags to the ready every night. We had to go and buy them ourselves.”

“This cannot happen again.”