Dave's Furniture re-opens after post-tornado rebuild
Date: 4/4/2012April 4, 2012
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD David Dudley's furniture business suffered major damage from the June 1, 2011 tornado, but the veteran businessman is dedicated to the South End and reopened his store at the corner of Main and Union streets last week.
"I never thought of closing down," he told Reminder Publications
Dave's Furniture has been a staple of the South End for the past 40 years, the last 27 of those have been in his present location.
Showing photos of the damage, Dudley's building was hit hard by the storm with considerable repairs needed to the front, back and roof of the building. Dudley spent almost $300,000 rebuilding the structure and getting back into business.
"It was a mess," he said.
The family-run business employs six people, he noted.
While the construction in the South End is heartening, Dudley expressed a concern about the dust in the air he and his staff have to dust the furniture in their showroom almost daily and the traffic the rebuilding activities cause. He is worried too much construction could put people off from coming to the businesses in the South End.
"Once it's up and running, it will be great," Dudley said.
According to Mayor Domenic Sarno, who was on hand for the store's ribbon cutting, 78 businesses were affected by the tornado.
"I'm happy to be back in business," Dudley said.
One of Dudley's neighbors, Mike Little, co-owner of City Vacuum, was on hand to congratulate him on his re-opening.
Housed in the Milano building across Union Street, Little's business was also closed by the storm. He and his partner, Ken McKenzie, moved up Main Street to temporary quarters but are now back in the location the business has been in for 44 years.
He said their business was "inundated" by customers when they recently reopened.
Little said his partner "thought about retiring [after the tornado] but made the investment to keep it going."
"We love what we do and love where we are," he added.
Little admitted he and partner wondered immediately after the storm if it was time to "get out of Dodge," but realized "it would be foolish to leave."
"The South End is such a nice area," he added.