Gabe’s opens after September tornado destroys building

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CHESTERFIELD, COUNTY,  Va., (WRIC) — In September, multiple tornados ripped through Central Virginia destroying businesses and killing one. 

The twister damaged a store on Hull Street Road: Gabe’s. 

For more than six months Gabe’s has been closed but opened again Saturday. 

“September 17th was a pretty scary day for us,” said Gabe’s employee Deb Nunnally. 

A tornado ripped through Hull Street Road leaving behind a path of destruction.

Gabe’s employees monitored the weather throughout that Monday. 

“I just happened to be outside and saw the tornado coming this way,” said Nunnally. “We made the call to put everybody in shelter in place in the store, customers and associates.”

As the group huddled in the back of the building, the tornado tore through the area. 

“We had some pretty devastating damage,” said Nunnally.  “But everybody walked out. We were safe. And we were thankful.”

For over six months, a sign was posted outside the store: temporarily closed. 

Crews worked to fix the roof and repair other damage. 

But today the doors are open once again. 

“Very happy,” said Nunnally.  “Very surreal. Thinking back on that day and looking at this day. What a difference seven months makes.”

The parking lot packed, store shelves stocked, Gabe’s is back in business.

“Tragedies happen,” said Gabe’s Vice President of marketing Leigh Guldig. “But our store really came together and turned it around and um really we’re back and better than ever. And I think that’s the story that everyone has to…perservance is something that’s great!! 

After the tornado, all employees were placed in other stores and their jobs were held in Midlothian. 

A GoFundMe was also set up for an associate whose car was damaged in the tornado. 

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