Nearly a month after a tornado struck METS Home Value hardware store and lumber yard in Central City, owner Mark Thompson is still combing through the wreckage. He and his crew have been able to salvage stock from the store, but the building is a total loss.
Around 9 p.m. on Dec. 10, a tornado touched down briefly in Central City causing damage to a few homes and a church on Old Greenville Road before it came down on METS. Damage to the hardware store was a preview of what would come later in the evening, as an EF4 tornado brought devastation to Bremen.
Thompson said METS is open for business, even while they are in the process of dealing with the tornado’s destruction. They are taking special orders for things like windows, doors and cabinets, and are able to fill lumber orders as well. All phone calls are transferred to Thompson’s cell phone, so he is able to help customers find what they need.
“Anything we can take care of, we try to, to keep things going where people won’t forget about us,” Thompson said as they try to fill orders for their customers.
A warehouse building constructed in back of the METS store was untouched by the tornado and has allowed them to have a place to move and store items from inside the destroyed building. It was finished in October.
“It was just going to be our lumber shed. It wasn’t all finished inside,” Thompson said. It will serve as a temporary store, until METS can be rebuilt. Volunteers helped staff recover items from the store and move them to the warehouse after the storm. It all had to be moved again to pour concrete in the warehouse building, and then put back into the warehouse again.
New stock is coming in, with a new paint mixer and other essential equipment expected by the end of the month. Thompson said if all goes as planned, they will reopen for retail sales by the end of January or first of February.
“We are planning to rebuild, but who knows the date on that,” Thompson said, with the process of going through insurance claims and the availability of building materials factoring into the project.
In the meantime, the building that has been METS for the past 23 years will be taken down. “They can take it down in about a week,” Thompson said. “At the same time, hopefully it will be a lot better for us.”
METS is trying to operate as close to normal as they possibly can. “We want to help people as much as we can. If we have it, we’ll find it. We have plywood, lumber, drywall, we can load it up,” Thompson said.
ABOVE: METS Home Value in Central City was struck by a tornado on Dec. 10, ahead of the destruction in Bremen. The family run business is salvaging what they can and making plans for the future.