Five small business owners are still sifting through what remains in the aftermath of the tornado, but plan to reopen. Some are relocating temporarily while they rebuild and others need temporary locations.
Ringgold Chiropractor Dr. Josh Paxton has moved his store from its former spot in the Ace Hardware complex on Poplar Springs Road to a temporary 1,500-square-foot location at 102 Remco Shoppe Lane in Ringgold.
"We will come back bigger, better and have more services," said Paxton, who will more than double the size of his office with the new 2,400-square-foot building.
He said he expects to reopen at his former office in four months.
"The tornado destroyed my business," he said. "My X-ray machine and suite was destroyed. The roof came off the building and the sprinklers ran for 11 hours after the storm. All my computers and treatment equipment was under water."
Paxton said the outpouring of donations and support has overwhelmed him. He said chiropractor Dr. William Johnson, of Fort Oglethorpe, let him practice at his office for one week after the storm.
"I had patients show up to help me clean sheetrock off my stuff," he said. "It's been pretty remarkable."
Paxton said chiropractors all over the country have given him donations including an X-ray machine, treatment adjusting tables and rehabilitation equipment.
Paxton's business is open at the Remco location Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. To learn more, call Dr. Paxton at 706-935-3338.
Ringgold Certified Public Accountant Rodney Crowe, whose office was located at 187 Lafayette St. in Ringgold, is now at 72 Millennium Circle across from Dr. Paxton in the Remco Complex.
"We reopened for business a week after the storm," said Crowe. "We have monthly bookkeeping clients like the motels and small businesses that depend on us for bookkeeping and tax work. We also do corporate income taxes and personal income taxes."
He said he was able to move his computers into his new temporary office along with folding tables and chairs. He expects to have his former location up and running in one month once renovations are complete.
"We were lucky we did not have more damage than we did," said Crowe. "The house two doors down, the roof was blown off and the walls collapsed. The house next door was totaled also. I think the hill caused the storm to bounce over my house."
Still, the tornado blew out the windows end wall and collapsed the roof on the garage, he said.
"We have to replace windows, the roof and rebuild the garage. I had no damage in the basic structure," he said.
Crowe's business hours in the new location are Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to noon. His office can be reached at (706) 965-2738.
Ringgold Dr. Anthony Henry's Northwest Georgia Dentistry, which was also hit by the tornado, is temporarily operating out of Dr. Henry's basement to man the phone lines. The office was located at 7319 Nashville St.
"The tornado had a huge impact because it basically put us out of business," said hygiene coordinator Teri Bracy. "We are able to contact patients now. We work out of different dental offices. We need a place to work out of."
Dr. Steven Shaw has opened his office on Cloud Springs Road near Costco to Henry on Mondays.
"We are trying to salvage X-rays, dental equipment and dental supplies," said Bracy. "We plan to rebuild in the same location. The contractor told us it should take three to four months to rebuild the Northwest Georgia Dentistry office."
To contact Northwest Georgia Dentistry, call (706) 935-2206.
Aunt Effie's Restaurant owner Janie Cox has reopened her business in the same location at 5287 Alabama Hwy. in Ringgold.
"We had window damage from the tornado and pressure from the wind took our sign," said Cox. "I got a call from Apison, Tennessee, that someone found our sign there."
She said the tornado pulled electrical and phone lines from the building. She said a couple of the restaurant employees had car damage, but that she feels blessed by God that no one was hurt.
She said the adjoining Subway and H and L Dry Cleaners buildings were damaged in the back by the tornado.
"The Lord showed us much grace," said Cox. "I thank him so much that no one was hurt here. My grandson Cody Cox filmed the tornado in front of the restaurant. He ran in and told everyone to take cover. Waitresses were in the men's bathroom and my husband Jim Cox was under the counter."
Cox said she arrived shortly after the tornado hit to survey the damage and check on everyone.
Aunt Effie's Restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday. To learn more call (706) 935-6525.
Ringgold's Highland Health Mart Pharmacy owner Dale Cope is cleaning up debris and looking for things to salvage at his store's location on the end of the Food Lion Complex at the intersection area of Poplar Springs Road and Alabama Highway. The tornado hit his store hard, knocking the roof and walls down.
"We plan to reopen in the same location," said Cope. "Due to licenses, you can't open a pharmacy just anywhere."
He said his customers can take their prescriptions to a pharmacy of their choice to be filled in the meantime.
"Watch out for us to open as soon as possible," said Cope. "We were able to salvage very little. It was a total loss for my business, my home and my vehicles. We are having to juggle several catastrophes."
Cope said his home at 252 Greystone Drive off of Cherokee Valley Road in Ringgold was also hit by the tornado.
"We would appreciate continued prayers," said Cope. "We are blessed to be alive."
To learn more, visit www.ringgoldrx.com or email Cope at email@example.com.
FSG Bank Ringgold branch manager Brad Denton said the bank remains temporarily closed for repairs after sustaining substantial damage. While bank officials are evaluating all options as far as a time table for the re-opening date, Denton said FSG customers can visit one of the other area FSG branches. He added that customers who maintain a safe deposit box at the Ringgold Branch, can be assured that the safe deposit boxes and their contents are secure and customers needing access to their box, should contact the Thornton Avenue branch in Dalton by calling (706) 226-1500.
Ringgold Power Sports owner Bonnie Wagner is reaching out to her neighbors by offering free chain saw sharpening at her 831 Lafayette St. store to assist in the tornado aftermath.
"Last week we went mobile on a golf cart in the community sharpening everyone's chains," said Wagner. "We are sharpening 40 chain saws per day. It takes two minutes to sharpen a chain and it has to be off the machine."
She said people can bring their chain either on or off the saw to the store. She said she has plenty of chain saws, chains and bars for sale. She said she will continue sharpening volunteers and residents chainsaws for free this week.
Wagner said she wanted to assist Ringgold residents impacted by the tornado, so she purchased a precision chain saw sharpening machine.
• To learn more, call Ringgold Power Sports at (706) 965-3791. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.