Suffolk businesses damaged from tornado looking ahead towards future

Suffolk business damage 2.jpg
Suffolk business damage.jpg
Suffolk business damage 3.jpg
Suffolk business damage 4.jpg
Posted at 8:48 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 22:17:43-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - The City of Suffolk suffered a lot of damage last week after tornadoes touched down throughout the area.

The storm left an impact on local businesses, including Brandon House Furniture on West Washington Street, a family-owned business that’s been in the community for 73 years.

“It's going to have to be a total overhaul, I think, for the future on this building,” Brandon Carter of Brandon House Furniture said.

For Carter, he’s staying positive.

“No one was hurt. We can rebuild,” he said. “I'm looking down the road. I'm not looking behind me.”

In the meantime, he’s setting up shop temporarily across the street, while looking ahead. The store is expected to be in that location for about six to eight months.

“This location is going to be rebuilt. In about eight months, we're going to have a new building,” he said.

Overall, he’s thankful it wasn't any worse.

Related: Help for Southampton County businesses damaged from tornado

“We can replace furniture, and we can replace a roof,” Carter said. “We can replace brick and mortar. [We] can't replace people.”

City officials told News 3 they’re working with businesses directly.

“If we have a resource to assist, we'd like to do that,” Suffolk Director of Economic Development Kevin Hughes said.

Economic Development officials said they plan on proposing a grant program next month to help businesses impacted by the storm.

“What we'll propose to do in September is a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $5,000 to those that are looking to improve the structure, or bring the structure back to life,” Hughes said. “We modify it to allow for things that we normally don't cover, like roof damage or parking lot damage, or even if you've gotten a grant before, we modify it to allow you to go after this opportunity a second time.”

Carter believes resources like this can help his family and others in the community.

He'll continue staying positive with an eye on the future.

“This is how you handle yourself,” he said. “You don't panic. You don't throw your hands in the air. You just keep going. You pick up the pieces, and you just keep moving forward.”

For more information on Suffolk Economic Development, including contact information, click here.

Click here for more local hurricane resources and information.