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Branson's Highway 76 Strip is back in business

March 28, 2012|by Emily Wood, KY3 News | ewood@ky3.com

BRANSON, Mo. -- One month after a twister devastated the Branson community, many of the shops are restaurants on the Highway 76 Strip are back open.  

"We were able to just rebuild parts of it instead of the whole structure," said Jon Rasmussen, the owner of Burger Shack on Highway 76 in Branson.

The grand opening of Burger Shack was in January, but just a month later an EF-2 tornado hit the restaurant.  The strong winds busted out windows and ripped off the entire east side of the building.

"It was sad.  It was hard to take," Rasmussen said.

"The next step was trying to get reopened as soon as possible for our customers and for the Branson community," Rasmussen said.

After four weeks of round-the-clock clean up and repairs, Burger Shack reopened one month after the tornado hit.

While some businesses in Branson are already reopen, other busieness owners are still in the clean up and rebuilding process, and they say those things are taking a lot longer than they thought they would.

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Branson's Director of Economic Development, Garrett Anderson, said the tornado damaged or destroyed 86 structures.  Of those, about half have applied for permits to demolish or rebuild, and so far the property damage totals about $4 million. 

"There's so much demand right now.  Everybody needs glass.  Everybody needs signs.  Everybody needs the general stuff," said Chad Rockett, the owner of Maggie Moo's Ice Cream on The Strip in Branson.

The tornado shattered the windows of Rockett's business and destroyed his special ice cream cooler.  Downed lines left his business without power for several days.  Rockett had hoped to open two weeks after the tornado, but that didn't happen.

"I just tried to make lemonades out of the lemon," Rockett said.

Rockett gave his homemade ice cream away and  decided to make a change.

"I just thought I'd take advantage of while I couldn't reopen, go ahead and strip walls and repaint and rewallpaper and have a newer exciting place when I do reopen," he said.

Rockett said he plans to churn out two dozen different flavors of ice cream Friday and be open again by Saturday.



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