Winter winds wreak havoc
“The whole building shook,” said Lisa Nonamaker, store manager for Happy Harvesters Hydroponics, a garden supply store on South Saginaw Street.
Nonamaker said dirt and leaves were flying into the building. Then, the staff looked outside and saw so much debris they couldn’t see anything else. The telephone poles nearby had come down and about five vehicles were damaged.
“Honestly, I thought it was a tornado at first with the noise and the dirt flying around,” Nonamaker said. “That’s all I could think.”
When they looked in the warehouse, they saw pieces of the roof were missing.
There was a rubber roof and a metal roof on the building. The rubber roof got blown off by the wind, while the metal roof stayed mostly intact. Staff said they believe the wind threw the rubber roof onto the side of the building, onto vehicles which were damaged and into the road.
The staff was required to temporarily turn the power off to the entire building to make sure there were no live wires because there was a down wire.
“When I came in, they had the road blocked,” said Kyle Brundige, assistant manager for the store. “There were police and fire trucks.”
All the business’ phone lines were down for days, as well as its fax line.
“It’s very hard to operate a business without a phone,” said Kevin Sitterlet, return material authorization (rma) technician at Happy Harvesters.
The warehouse, which was damaged extensively, took days to repair. The retail part of the business, right next to it, will need minor repairs. Nonamaker said she did not lose a lot of inventory.
Nonamaker said she did not want to close the business through all of this and says she saw no reason to close.
“They got on it right away,” she said. “Fortunately, we were all in front and nobody was in the warehouse.”
Nonamaker said the staff members at Happy Harvesters were aware the weather advisory said there were winds at 50 to 60 miles an hour that day.
“We knew we were having wind storms, but we didn’t expect that,” she said.
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