July 27, 2011

Bouncing Back

Local businesses strive to recover after May 24 tornado

Shelley Jones

— The tornado that recently tore through Chickasha left several businesses in a complete state of array.

“Many are now left with the decision as to whether to tear down and start over or repair,” said Gene Winsett, city inspector.

Any business that was damaged must submit to the city an engineer report providing information as to whether the structure is sound enough to rebuild, he said.

Dollar Tree

Representatives from Dollar Tree said they do not plan to re-open a store in Chickasha.

Western Sizzlin

This restaurant suffered considerable damage and has had to undergo extensive repairs, such as a new ventilation system, new heat and air and repairing the whole back side of the building. Costs to bring back this business is estimated to be over $300,000 – and could possibly go higher. If all goes as planned, Western Sizzlin could re-open at the beginning of August.

The Pit Stop

Located on Country Club Road, this business experienced extensive damage, but is making progress towards a complete recovery. Projected plans are to re-open at the end of August or in early September. Plans are in the works for a Grand Opening.

Bath and Body Works

Information was not available as of press time.

Western Union

A sign in their window at their new location of 628 Chickasha Ave. says they will re-open soon. They were also located in the path of the tornado on Country Club Drive.

Options Counseling Service

This business adjoined the Western Union office and has relocated to 205 W. Chickasha Ave.

Chickasha Veterinary Hospital

A sports banner on their building announces they are “OPEN.”

Quick Stop

Located on the corner of Grand Ave. and Country Club Rd., now named Iron Horse Grill, Bronco Corner, is open while undergoing repairs. The owner of this building had just purchased this business not too long before the tornado struck May 24 and had just completed considerable renovation. Now, unfortunately, he is painstakingly starting over.

Grand Assembly of God Church

They were forced to move to a new location at the high school until all their damage was repaired. After considerable repairs and a new roof, they are now back into their building and are conducting services as usual.

The Winds of Oakridge Apartments

Damage to this business was estimated at 3.4 million dollars. The 10 buildings in the front section all required new roofs. Manager Tiffani Felt said the insurance process required a considerable wait, so the owners of the housing addition fronted the money to conduct the repairs on the buildings in an effort to speed the process for residents to return to their homes.

Felt said she would like to thank all the residents who have patiently waited to be placed in an apartment once again. To date, 11 residents have been brought back and two more families are still on a waiting list.

The five apartment buildings in the back have been determined to be damaged beyond repair and will be torn down and completely rebuilt. The estimated completion time for this project is the end of August. The insurance has recently paid and work can now be done, Felt said.


The Book Storeand Juanette’s Tax Service

This building was severely damaged by the tornado. Part of the roof over the book store section had caved in. Juanette Gardner said that it took two months to find a place but that she is extremely happy with their new address at 628 Chickasha Ave.

“It’s an old building and I love old buildings.” Gardner said it shouldn’t take much longer to get all the books cleaned and back on the shelves. “We’re just happy to be here,” she said.