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3 Arkansas businesses reopen after tornado

Rock City Running, Kei Hiro and Eat My Catfish are now up and running again after the tornado in March forced them to close temporarily

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansans are still working to get back on their feet following the tornado in March, and Thursday was a monumental day for a couple of businesses around the area.

Just two months after the tornado, three local businesses were able to reopen on Thursday.

It was a long-awaited day for Hendri Jap, who welcomed back customers into his restaurant for the first time since March.

"A lot of people asking when you guys gonna open back," KeiHiro Owner Hendri Jap said. "We tried to catch up on everything... and finally today, we opened back."

When the EF-3 tornado ripped through North Little Rock's Amboy neighborhood on March 31, it did some damage to KeiHiro, but all the repairs are now finished. 

"I really feel so happy because we can reopen back," Jap said.

Over in Little Rock, another restaurant is back to serving people, but at no charge Thursday. 

"We are out here serving first responders and tornado victims at our new Riverdale location to give back," Founder and President of Eat My Catfish Travis Hester said.

The tornado destroyed Eat My Catfish in Breckenridge Village, but now Hester is starting fresh at his new location. 

"We've been wanting to do this but we didn't have a facility to do so," Hester said. "Here we are, the new store at Riverdale at the bottom of Cantrell Hill doing so."

It's the restaurant's eighth location and it officially opens to the public on Friday. 

They're rebuilding the Breckenridge location and expect to reopen in the late summer or early fall.

"I think what we're looking forward to most is seeing those familiar faces," Hester said. "There are ones that come two, three, four times a week that we haven't gotten a chance to see a chance to serve."

It's a similar story at Rock City Running, which is now located in the Market Place Shopping Center on Rodney Parham.

"It's been a process," Rock City Running Owner Bill Torrey said. "I'm real proud of my staff and the people that have helped me get this ready."

When the tornado ripped apart his old store in the Colony West Shopping Center, the running community joined together to raise $56,000 to help get the business back up and running. 

Torrey said they're part of the reason he's able to reopen, and luckily insurance covered the damage too.

"We're here and we've accomplished what we wanted to accomplish," Torrey said.

Rock City Running's reopening happened just in time for its 10th anniversary this weekend.

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