MAK­ING PROGRESS AF­TER TOR­NADO

Two months af­ter twister, dam­age re­mains in Wilkes-Barre Twp. but stores may re­open by hol­i­days.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY BOB KALINOWSKI STAFF WRITER

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — As tor­nado re­cov­ery con­tin­ues along Mundy Street, de­vel­oper Robert Tam­burro sees progress when parts of fenc­ing are shifted and the con­struc­tion zone shrinks.

That means an­other busi­ness has re­opened. Each time, he proudly or­ders “Now Open” signs to stake in the ground of the Arena Hub Plaza. The lat­est was for Carter’s OshKosh.

“Soon we’ll be shrink­ing that fence to the point it’s gone,” Tam­burro said.

To­day marks two months since an EF2 tor­nado — with wind speeds of 130 mph — tore through the busy shop­ping district along Mundy Street, for­ever chang­ing the com­mer­cial land­scape.

Tam­burro be­lieves crews are on pace to have all the stores re­opened for the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son.

Stores that are still closed in­clude Barnes & No­ble, Dick’s Sport­ing Goods, T.J. Maxx, Sta­ples, Ed­die Bauer Out­let and Pet Smart.

“We are lo­cal land­lords. We de­vel­oped the prop­erty. It’s some­thing we care about deeply. We want to make sure the progress is mov­ing along as quickly as pos­si­ble,” Tam­burro said.

While all of Tam­burro’s ten­ants chose to re­build, some other prop­erty own­ers found out their prop­er­ties were too bat­tered to sur­vive.

Kurlancheek Home Fur­nish­ings and U Haul’s of­fices were the first to be knocked down.

The strip mall an­chored by Pan­era Bread re­mains boarded up, await­ing a date with de­mo­li­tion. One ten­ant, Tovon and Co., an­nounced it was mov­ing the store to Dal­las.

The build­ing con­tain­ing Ashley Fur­ni­ture Home­store and other busi­nesses was razed. The fur­ni­ture store owner said he’s mov­ing to one of the Wy­oming Val­ley Mall’s sec­ondary build­ings where hh­gregg used to be lo­cated. Pol­ish Pot­tery, one of the ten­ants, is mov­ing across the street to the mall.

Sta­tion’s Grill, an­other ten­ant of the Ashley Fur­ni­ture build­ing, an­nounced in early July it was hav­ing a “Tor­nado Sale” and sell­ing off its equip­ment.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we re­ceived word that the whole build­ing will be de­mol­ished. We want to thank all of our pa­trons and friends who have sup­ported our small fam­ily busi­ness over the years. It was an honor and a priv­i­lege to serve our com­mu­nity and we thank you for ev­ery­thing,” the busi­ness posted on its Face­book page.

An­other busi­ness had a wildly pop­u­lar “Tor­nado Sale,” brag­ging in ad­ver­tise­ments that cars were “fly­ing off the lot.”

Cars lit­er­ally did fly off the lot at Pol­lock Nis­san dur­ing June’s tor­nado.

Of the 440 ve­hi­cles on dis­play, 140 were to­taled and much of the oth­ers sus­tained dam­age, said Gary Peters, the deal­er­ship’s gen­eral man­ager.

Peters said the time im­me­di­ately af­ter the tor­nado was the busiest in his ca­reer be­cause peo­ple were try­ing to take ad­van­tage of dis­counts the deal­er­ship of­fered on dam­aged cars.

“I’ve been do­ing this for 25 years. This was the first time in my life we were giv­ing num­bers out and peo­ple were stand­ing in line. It was like a deli counter,” Peters said. “I would have never ex­pected the turnout. But the dis­count they got on the cars was worth their time.”

MARK MO­RAN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Cleanup con­tin­ues in and around the busi­nesses that were dam­aged or de­stroyed by the tor­nado two months ago in Wilkes-Barre Twp.

“Open” signs for busi­nesses in Wilkes-Barre Twp. shop­ping plazas alert driv­ers along Tam­bur Boule­vard. While many tor­nado-dam­aged stores re­main closed, those spared are ready for cus­tomers.

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