Vilonia businesses bounce back after tornado

VILONIA, Ark.(KTHV) - In Vilonia, resiliency has taken root for businesses bouncing back following the April 27th tornado. The familiar sounds of Kieth's Service Center show a sign that business is returning to Vilonia.

Using a temporary garage and modular buildings, Kieth McCord said he's keeping his business alive.

"Like we did in the beginning, back in the old days. We just put us up a portable building and bought some new equipment and went to work."

On the evening of April 27th an EF-4 tornado destroyed the business that McCord spent 37 years building.

McCord said he and his 3 sons rode out the storm from inside the service center's office.

"It's kind of weird there's nothing there. We looked out the door, I come out this side door and looked out and there's like nothing, it's all level."

As the town's only auto repair shop, McCord said he knew his customers depended on his business.

While the set-up may not be ideal, McCord along with his 3 sons continue to operate as they always have.

"It's just what you got to do. We got to keep the guys working. Keep the customers going, whatever it takes."

The tornado was devastating to Vilonia's business district, impacting nearly 80 percent of the town's commerce.

McCord said it will take six months and close to $1 million to get back up and running to full capacity.

Until then the long-standing small business owner said he'll work with what he has.

"It's working. A little congested at times."

McCord said he is taking the good with the bad. "They're glad to see it. Everybody wants to see Vilonia come back up."

The city has waived business and building permit fees to try and help out in the rebuilding process. The city is still asking business owners to apply for permits to allow for safety inspections.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment