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Dog Town Pizza turns to community for help after tornado

It only took a few months for Dog Town Pizza to become a mainstay in North Little Rock. However, the owner is now asking the community for help rebuilding.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Many emergency aid groups that assisted Arkansas following the EF-3 tornado in March have since left, leaving Arkansans to pick up the remaining pieces.

Dog Town Pizza, a staple in the North Little Rock community, is a business that's still looking for help rebuilding.

The tornado hit it head-on, and that's when the restaurant said they found out the building's owner didn't have insurance.

Now, instead of moving the business elsewhere, Dog Town Pizza is asking the community for help so they can keep serving people in the area.

"Just stunned and numb is the only way to describe it," Dog Town Pizza Owner Jimmy Ray said. "I wasn't expecting to see what I saw."

Ray said there aren't a lot of food options around the area, and the struggle to fund clean-up efforts is worth sticking around.

"It's not just my loss. It is a loss for this community," Ray said. "Finding another location probably wouldn't be that difficult... We don't want to move anywhere else just because this community really needed this place."

That's why Dog Town Pizza is not just asking North Little Rock residents for help, but people everywhere.

"This community was hit really hard," Ray said. "It's definitely understandable, while they're not able to donate financially."

To help spread the word about Ray's GoFundMe, the North Little Rock tourism office has been sharing Ray's story and inviting him to community events.

"Everyone comes to different neighborhoods to dine and to gather and have that sense of community," North Little Rock Tourism Marketing Director Stephanie Slagle said. "It's not just an Amboy neighborhood issue. It affects everyone."

Slagle added that the city is pushing for recovery to help bring visitors back to parks and restaurants.

"Our hope is that it can get cleaned up quickly so that our visitors, and our residents, can get back to enjoying our beautiful city," Slagle said.

And if Dog Town's clean-up receives enough funding, Ray wants to rebuild as soon as possible.

But for now, he's leaning on Arkansans to help him bring people back together.

"Everybody's reaching out. They're all talking about how badly they miss Dog Town Pizza and how good the food was," Ray said. "All those sorts of things, but we just got to get some help."

North Little Rock's Mayor Terry Hartwick said he wants to help Dog Town Pizza any way he can but is limited on what he can do with taxpayer money.

Dog Town Pizza's GoFundMe can be found here.

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