GALION — When a tornado struck Galion in early November, the damage was something most had never experienced.
Now just over a month later, life has slowly returned to a new normal for most of those affected. Families displaced by damage have found temporary housing while repairs are being made to their homes.
The same is true for businesses, like Urban Industries of Galion.
With their offices and warehousing located in the area of South Riblet and South Pierce streets, two of their buildings were right in the path of the storm that night.
The back wall of their main offices was made of concrete block. It ended up as rubble in the alley that runs behind the building, and nearby warehouse was torn open so badly that the yellow insulation from that building was littered through surrounding trees and yards like snow.
And while many other other companies would have considered it the end of their operations, Urban Industries President and CEO Ned Rieke chose to see it another way.
“It could have been worse,” he said “I still feel lucky that no one was hurt.”
While Rieke said the biggest challenge has been getting everything out of the hardest hit building, they have worked hard to move forward and maintain as much normalcy as possible while the company focuses on being operational again soon.
Two employees have been without work since the tornado struck, but thanks to a part of the business insurance that Rieke carries, they have been paid in full and Rieke is planning to get them back to work in the coming weeks.
The offices that were formally housed in one of the two buildings on South Riblet Street have been moved to the larger manufacturing building on South Market Street.
“Ninety percent of our business runs out of this space anyway,” Rieke said
Moving the offices to that location was a sensible solution.
The 20,000-square foot building, also located at South Riblet Street, will be reduced to a 10,000-square foot warehouse when a temporary wall is put up in the very near future. The wall will enable them to get back into operation until all final repairs can be made.
A devastating storm this late in the year is something no one could have anticipated, but Rieke is optimistic for the future of Urban Industries regardless of any losses they have felt as a result.
“We have had a great year,despite the storm,” he said.
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