Local News

Stoneville Businesses Struggle to Recover After Tornado

Posted March 25, 1998

— The town of Stoneville's business district was almost totally destroyed by Friday's tornado. It's a big blow for the area's economy.

One antique store suffered significant damage. Now the owners are trying to determine if they can salvage enough to rebuild. The First Citizen's Bank promised to open its doors by 9:00 a.m. Thursday, and it did-- even with plastic still covering the roof.

Barbara Belton talked to WRAL's Mark Roberts as she clutched two French antique vases under her arms. Belton says she believes there's enough left to rebuild the store, but on only one-story. She'll have to have the top floor demolished. But she's been told the lower portion is still intact.

Building inspectors were on-site Thursday in a number of businesses in the area, especially on Henry Street. They are helping access each individual situation.

While some business owners will have to close their doors for good, others like Belton will find a way to salvage a wall or some other portion of the original buildings.

A week after the tornado, downtown Stoneville is partially a pile of stones and rubble, but the sunshine is still bringing smiles and some hope to those who will start over.

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