From Flood to Flooring

How Two Local Businesses Worked Together to Rebuild

Iowa businesses stick together through thick and thin, drought and floods. This was demonstrated in no uncertain terms when David Owens’s retro mid-modern furniture business, Mad Modern, was devastated during last year’s summer floods. While the city responded to flood warnings quickly with a temporary retention wall, Mad Modern was unfortunately left on the wrong side of the wall and had to fend for itself.

“Although we did our best to sandbag, there was about a foot of water inside the building and I sustained somewhere around $40,000 worth of damage,” commented Owens.

Customers and neighborhood-business friends rallied around this retired steel worker’s shop to help him recover. One of those friends was Jessica Ledger-Kalen of Royale Concrete, a Fairfield based concrete polishing company.

“I have been a Mad Modern customer for years,” said Ledger-Kalen. “David became a friend during that time and, as a fellow business owner, I could understand what these floods meant for his business.  With a passion for entrepreneurship and seeing others succeed, I wanted to help.

The project was not without its challenges. The existing floors were made of old river rock and there were a lot of uneven spaces and “DIY concrete ramps”, as Ledger-Kalen described them, where building additions had been made over time. There were also layers of paint, epoxy and different flooring materials. Royale Concrete took on the challenge and stepped up to provide Owens with a beautiful new floor.

“I can’t overstate what Royale Concrete did for me. I don’t know how much of a discount they gave me but I do know that I never could have afforded the kind of floor they gave me,” Owens said. “They were on their way to much bigger jobs and they stopped everything to take care of my little 1,500 square foot building.”

Owens said that now almost everyone who walks through his door comments on the floor. “It’s become an asset,” he said. “I’m not saying the flood was a blessing, but because of good friends like Jessica, I now have an amazing space to showcase the furniture pieces I love.”

Royale Concrete was not alone in stepping up to help Owens. The Newbo district is full of family-owned companies who also reached out to help. Neighborhood restaurant Tornados Grub and Pub and coffee shop Brewhemia loaned Owen pumps to dry out his space and a customer started a Go Fund Me account to help Owens pay bills and renovation costs.

“My insurance company literally hung me out to dry,” Owens said. “They took over 10 weeks to get me any funds to work with and for a time I thought I would have to close shop. The community and my customers really rallied around me and I can’t tell you how much I was touched. I am so thankful.”

Mad Modern is located at 227 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 and welcomes the community to come check out its inventory of retro furniture and the gorgeous floors on which it sits!

For more information about Mad Modern, visit For more information about Royale Concrete, visit or contact Jessica Ledger-Kalen at 641-919-8912.

Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Owner, Royale Concrete

As Founder, President and visionary of Royale Concrete located in Fairfield, Iowa, Ledger-Kalen leads a customer-oriented team that delivers high-quality concrete flooring solutions and exceptional customer service to commercial, industrial and governmental entities. Ledger-Kalen currently holds the position of Concrete Polishing Chair on the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA) Polishing Committee and sits on the Concrete Polishing Council for the America Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC). She is also a member of the Southeast Iowa Builders Association.

 David Owens, Owner, Mad Modern

After a lifelong hobby of collecting unique pieces and having an eye for quality furniture, owner David Owens decided to turn his passion into a business and opened Mad Modern in June, 2011. If you love retro furniture and haven’t been able to find it locally, this is the place for you.

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