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Oklahoma tornadoes leave businesses considering their options

BY STEVE LACKMEYER Modified: February 12, 2009 at 12:07 am •  Published: February 12, 2009
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photo - Tornado damage near the intersection of Rockwell and Northwest Expressway, Wednesday , February 11, 2009.  Nieka  Harms looks through her damaged Fantastic Sam's hair salon . By David McDaniel
Tornado damage near the intersection of Rockwell and Northwest Expressway, Wednesday , February 11, 2009. Nieka Harms looks through her damaged Fantastic Sam's hair salon . By David McDaniel
Tuesday's storms were arbitrary in their destruction, devastating some businesses while leaving others nearby untouched.

Such was the scene along Northwest Expressway Wednesday morning. The busy highway was open to traffic and some shops and restaurants were already open for business even as others nearby face weeks, if not months, of repairs.

Chucky Cheese Pizza, 6817 Northwest Expressway, had part of its roof caved in and the west wall blown in. Crews were busy cleaning up the parking lot Tuesday morning, and a manager said the restaurant would reopen, but declined to comment further.

Next door, at Fazolli's, assistant general manage Lisa Mayberry was still shaken by the previous day's drama in which she and her employees huddled for safety in the walk-in refrigerator. Damage was limited to debris that flew through the door, a crack in the front window and a shredded sign.

Mayberry said her crew was replacing food spoiled by the resulting power outage and expected to be open today.

“I'm amazed,” Mayberry said. “When we came out from the walk-in, oh my gosh, it was scary.”

The Target store one block west at 8315 N Rockwell Ave. sustained “significant” structural damage to the roof and there was water damage inside the store, said spokeswoman Anne Rodgers.

The store closed at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed indefinitely, she said. Company representatives were assessing the damage Wednesday and have not determined when the store will reopen. The chain also sustained minor damages to its store in Yukon, 1700 Garth Brooks Blvd. The store remains open.

Like Mayberry, Eric Campos, manager at Louie's next to Target, woke up Wednesday expecting big crowds for lunch. Not only was his restaurant spared any damages, it was one of few along the stretch of Northwest Expressway open so soon after the storms.

“We had Louie's truck by the Target sign and it got torn up too,” Campos said.

The storms also left one small business owner looking forward to reopening and another despairing what might have been the final blow to his Edmond cabinet-making shop.

“We're making it quite fine; we're blessed because no one was hurt,” said Nieka Harms, owner of Fantastic Sams, 7002 Northwest Expressway.


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