Branson Businesses Lose More than Bricks and Mortar
BRANSON - When an EF2 tornado ripped through dozens of Branson businesses, owner's lost more than bricks and mortar.
Buried beneath Missouri's tourism capitol's devastation, lie the remains of livelihoods lost.
"We knew the tornado had hit, but we had no idea it was this bad," tourist Violet Nelson said.
Nelson and her husband travel from Minnesota to visit Branson at least once, if not twice a year.
Traveling down 76 Country Boulevard, Jack and Evelyn Wallace stood outside their devastated flea market. For the Wallace's, owning a flea market wasn't just a phase - but a way of life.
"I've been in this for 26 years now, and this is the first building I haven't owned," Wallace said. "If we don't get help to get started building back, I've got four people who is going to be out of a job."
Years of history provide a common thread for business owners on "The Strip."
"The big red barn, as we call it, has been here for 35 years. Really it's an icon in the area..." Ozarkland Souvenir Shop Buyer and Manager Kent Reed said.
The tornado picked up Ozarkland's roof, and sent it tumbling to the parking lot. Though the storm picked up the roof, Reed said he's ready to pick up the pieces.
"Well if we can roll up our own sleeves right now we'd be up there helping. We're ready to move on. Time's a'wasting each day," Reed said.
The message is simple, evident by numerous signs outside businesses:
"Lucky to be open."
"We will rebuild, reopen together."
"We just want people to know that we're still here, we still want them to come, we're still waiting for them," tourism agent Rebekah Farmer said.
For ways to help Branson continue rebuilding, click HERE.