THE march floods took its toll on many much loved establishments in the heart of Lismore.
Staff at The Book Warehouse Lismore were greeted by a ghastly sight following the flood as the muddy water subsided leaving in its wake the torn and tattered remains of greats like Hemingway, Shakespeare and Tolstoy.
The impact on passionate staff was severe.
"We saved over half the stock," manager Sarah Morrow said.
"The aisles were full of wet damaged books," she said.
"It was heartbreaking."
For Sarah Morrow the crisis was much deeper than she feared as her 77 year old mentor and boss, John Roche, offered her two options as they tried to make sense of the carnage.
"For him coming and looking at it, assessing it and seeing the amount of damage he said we could get the bobcats in and clear everything out, leaving the shelving on the walls and reopen as a bargain book shop.
"Or if I wanted to take it over and bring it back to the full book shop, I could do it," Ms Morrow said.
Ms Morrow said her love of the store, her career, her dedication to her staff and not wanting them to lose jobs, and not wanting to lose Lismore's only book store had motivated her to purchase the business.
"I found the financial backing in my family and along with my dedicated staff and the wonderful community volunteers, went to work on cleaning it out, salvaging fixtures and putting it all back together.
"The task that had seemed insurmountable a few short weeks before had become a reality."
Ms Morrow went into partnership with her father Richard Morrow and his partner, Wendy Coates, to buy the Lismore store.
"We've grown up here, attended schools here, worked in its local businesses and we are so grateful for the continued community support."