PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — In Pinellas Park, dozens of businesses ravaged by Wednesday’s 300-yard wide, EF-2 tornado are scrambling to restore what they've lost. For some, that was everything.
"Yeah, we're out of business,” said Jesse Redden, who says his small recording studio got smashed by the violent winds that ripped through the area. He says he lost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 of equipment. “'Till I find a new location, I'm screwed.”
Others in the industrial area along Endeavour Way are in similar situations, desperately trying to clean their way out of the destruction and into a path of restoration for their businesses.
Tim Contaldo of Magnetic Motors says he was in one of his company’s cars at his auto business moments before the storm caused a tree to collapse on top of the vehicle.
"I was in the car with the car running and I got an alert on my phone to get inside and by the time I went from there to fumble them inside the door sucked shut behind me and the lights were out and I just found the place to hide,” he said.
Contaldo’s only been in business for 16 months, and it seems like there's just one thing after another standing in the way.
"After six months, you know, COVID hit, so we weren't really sure. So, we had to fight that and shut down and, you know, now this,” he said. “But we're vigilant, and you know, this this isn't going to stop us from living our dream.”
Ray Brown of Florida Metal said one of the company’s three buildings was destroyed in the storm, which will have an impact on operations, but he said no one’s job or pay will be impacted.
"It's been a rough year for sure, and it has impacted our business already,” said Brown. “We've already lost some employees, just because of COVID, because our commercial work is way down. But, you know, we're hoping for a strong 2021, as I'm sure a lot of people are."
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