Businesses finding new work in wake of April tornadoes

Posted April 26, 2011 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2011 7:25 p.m. EDT

— Between the economy and the tornadoes that left so much destruction, North Carolina business owners have been going through a rough patch. But now, during the process of rebuilding, some businesses are finding new work.

Homeowners in the McKinley Mill neighborhood in Raleigh now have new numbers in their speed dial for companies that put up blue tarps, board up windows and will eventually help make their homes livable again.

“We’ve got a lot of dedicated employees working 15-hour days,” said Travis Bailey, vice president and general manager of Carolina Restoration Services.

The Cary-based company is helping to restore more than 20 homes in the tornado-torn Raleigh neighborhood, including Kristine Balvodino's house.

“(We’re) trying to salvage what we can,” she said.

The cabinets in Balvodino's kitchen are falling apart, the upstairs bonus room is ripped apart and the garage is gone.

Bailey says business is up about 30 to 40 percent from this time last year. From Raleigh to Sanford, the company has more than 100 new customers because of the April 16 tornadoes.

“Our employees know things like this can happen, and this is why they’re in this field and they can help people,” Bailey said. “And we’ve been fortunate to help some amazing people.”

It could take as long as six months to fix some of the homes. Balvodino said she hopes to return in two months.

“We’re hoping it will be that, but we’re acknowledging that we’re not the only ones impacted. So, it could be a little longer, but we’re fine. We can’t complain,” she said.

A spokeswoman with the Wake County Homebuilders Association says its builders and remodelers are not seeing a surge in business yet. She says reconstruction is on hold as many homeowners are working things out with insurance companies.