Small Business Facing Challenges After Tornado

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Small businesses are facing challenges after the tornado. One of the biggest obstacles for storeowners to overcome is reopening.

Liquor store owner Brian Davis has no shortage of customers coming here to shop. But he can't serve them. The tornado shut him down.

"We're closed and there's no income coming in," says Davis.

It’s painful for a merchant to have product and customers yet unable to do business. Such is the case for several merchants in the Midway Square Shopping Center at 47th South and Clifton in Oaklawn. Generators alone aren’t enough to reopen stores.

Davis says, "Everyone in the shopping center south of me, they either have broken windows, they have ceilings that have fallen in. The storm peeled the roof up and off."

He also says the roof damage let water in, causing more damage. It means he’ll need contractors for repairs. In preparation, all the bottles of alcohol must be removed and stored in accordance with state regulations. A store like Davis’ has to deal with several agencies.

“First people I had to call Sunday morning was Alcohol Beverage Control to let them know what happened. I've had contact with the health department, the agriculture department,” says Davis.

The shelf items, he says, are not cleared for resale. But some beer lovers might cry to hear that all the suds in the refrigerator will have to be trashed.

He feels lucky the building didn’t sustain worse damage, nor was anyone hurt. A store’s employees hurt, too, when the business is closed.

"As soon as we got the clean up done, I was on the phone with the boss trying to get hours at least. Because I'm paying rent and now don't have a job," says store employee Kyle Boswell.

Davis says he’ll feel lucky if the store can reopen in 45 days, after repairs are made.

"We're going into our busiest months and we'll probably be closed," says Davis.

As you can see, not knowing when you can reopen is a real hardship for the many small merchants impacted by the tornado.

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