Business leveled by tornado rebuilds after 15 months

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 9:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The remains of the March 28, 2020 tornado that devastated several businesses around town can still be seen today. Gateway Tires is rejoicing after just completing its construction process.

“It took 15 months from the time the tornado hit to we’re in our new location. The old location, new building, and we’re very happy to be here,” said Danny Cook, general manager.

Cook says luckily, they close at noon on Saturdays, so no one was inside the building at the time of the tornado.

“It was a miracle that nobody was seriously injured or killed with it being in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, with all of the traffic, all the restaurants, and all in the heart of town, but everyone was very fortunate, and we’re all lucky,” said Cook.

The tornado wasn’t Cook’s first experience with severe weather but said this tornado certainly took a toll.

“This was the third tornado I’ve been through, and I’ve lived here my whole life. We did not come down here until Sunday morning, and we’re looking at it like, where do you start? I’ve been here 32 years, and it’s just, everything was gone, and we had to start all over. Pretty traumatic experience,” said Cook.

He says they didn’t go through the loss alone.

“The community is great. We had people stopping by. We were cleaning up, people trying to give us food, water, offered help. The community is great,” said Cook.

They were able to set up shop in a temporary location, but it was small. Now, they’re glad to be able to have more room to best serve customers.

“We’ve been extremely busy. We’re just thankful for our past and present customers. They’ve been very loyal to us, so people were patient with us now we’ve got 29 bays to service you better. We’re extremely busy, but we love all our customers,” said Cook.

The Paragould location is closed.

They are combining with the Jonesboro location.

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