One month after twister, Columbia businesses still recovering

One month after twister, Columbia businesses still recovering

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - One month after a deadly tornado struck Columbia, businesses there are still recovering.

Columbia Computers is among the four dozen businesses that sustained damage or were destroyed in the Dec. 23 twister. Employees were able to serve customers shortly after the storm, but because of heavy damage, the business was forced to move to a new spot about one block west of its original location. These days, that business is doing well.

Others have yet to re-open and a few, although damaged, are still doing business at their original location.

"We bounced back pretty quick and we feel very fortunate to be able to do so," said Lori King, co-owner and manager of Columbia Computers. "Its been quite an experience, but we are up and running and just glad to still be able to do business," she said.

All the destruction to buildings has also damaged the economy, because of lost sales tax receipts.

"Counties operate off of ad valorem taxes, cities operate off sales taxes," said Robert Bourne, mayor of Columbia. "Anytime you destroy that sales tax base, that's destroying a base of our livelihood and so, we're looking forward to everybody getting back on their feet and getting going again," he said.

Thursday morning, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at Columbia's Exposition center.  Both business owners and home owners who suffered damage in the storm can apply for loans there.