Business remembers Snowvember five years later: ‘Some thought we were gone right off the get-go’

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HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Many people who were living in WNY have vivid memories of the massive Snowvember snowstorm that hit parts of the region five years ago, and that’s certainly the case for the general manager of a business in Hamburg.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Eric Fusco said, the general manager of Colley’s Pools and Spas. “On Friday morning a guy from West Herr noticed something wasn’t right, and called the owner and she called myself and another guy and we came down here and that’s when we saw it.”

After the second round of snow fell in the 2014 snowstorm, Eric Fusco drove over to Colley’s to see their main building had caved-in. The building, which held the showroom and office space, was 16,000 sq ft with a 16 ft roof. When Fusco looked in a window, he saw the roof was on the ground in the middle of the showroom.

“I don’t know the exact dollar amount, but it was a lot of dollars.”

Hot tubs, grills, furniture, an abundance of pool supplies, and more were in that showroom. Almost all of it was destroyed.

Fusco said everyone immediately went into recovery mode. When they could, they brought in construction trailers for office space and storage.

“Some people (customers) thought we were gone right off the get-go.”

To get the insurance money for what was lost, it took a full year or more to go through the inventory process. After six months, they tore down the building and got to work planning for their future.

“There had been talk of renovating the old building, in steps here and there, so we just did it in one clean swipe I guess.”

In the Spring of 2014, 3.5 years after the snow caused the roof to collapse, Colley’s finally opened an entirely new plaza along Camp Road. The grand opening signaled a new era for the family-owned business.

Bruce and Marie Colley opened up Colley’s Pools and Spas back in 1963.

“Bruce actually started selling pools out of his garage while he was on his 7UP route.”

The couple handed the business off to their two kids, who own it today. There are now four locations and around 150 employees. Fusco said that storm had a massive impact on the business, but there was never a thought of letting the snow stop them from carrying on what Bruce and Marie started.

“(It was) a lot of work, but in the end it will all be worth it.”

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