The Tornado and Our Small Businesses

The latest tornados that touched down in Kokomo last week were another reminder of Mother Nature’s temper. Over 1,000 structures were affected, and over 80 were completely destroyed. What’s eerie is this tornado took a path almost identical or one block north of the path of the last tornado in Kokomo in November of 2013.

When the 2013 tornado hit Kokomo it was a stressful time for many. It began a crummy Thanksgiving month for many, and a lot of business slowed down in many industries. At that time I owned Sequel Motion, an IT Management company that served businesses in the area. We typically had a slow down in business towards the end of the year, but the end of 2013 was tougher than normal.

Having businesses experience damage and power loss, residents recovering from their own losses, and Christmas approaching the definitely slowed down business for many service businesses. While the Inventrek building scrapped by without damage during that tornado, we saw a house about a block down for us picked up and dropped in the middle of the road!

House in the middle of the road, Kokomo tornado of November 2013.

My company was able to help businesses that moved to the Inventrek building after the tornado get up quickly with Internet and temporary phone service, as well as help our clients through power and Internet issues from the storm they experienced. This was a mini rush of work for us, but then as I stated above, things slowed way down.

This time around the tornado touched down 3 months earlier than in 2013, and it’s yet to be seen how the local economy will function. I can say without a doubt that the whole community has done a GREAT job as always rallying around those affected: from clean up, to getting power back for Duke Energy customers, to taking care of those without housing.

While people’s lives will get back to normal as houses and buildings are repaired, my heart aches for my former colleagues in the Inventrek building. I got word that there is potentially $1–2 million in damage in the building, and all 26 business tenants must be out by this Friday, as the building is in bad shape.

I know firsthand how running a business can be tough, doubly tough after a natural disaster. As the Inventrek tenants and other displaced businesses move into other locations I urge everyone to remain #KokomoStrong and support our local businesses. Some of these businesses need us more than ever, and continuing to patronize them could very well be the difference between their businesses recovering from loss or going out of business.

God Bless all those affected in Kokomo, the first responders, all the volunteers, and our whole community as we continue to recover and remain #KokomoStrong