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Beavercreek Businesses Try to Rise Above Tornado Damage and COVID-19

Beavercreek, the morning after the tornados.
City of Beavercreek Facebook page
Beavercreek, the morning after the tornados.

It was a year ago today that 19 tornadoes tore through communities across Ohio. In Beavercreek, many business owners woke up to damage from tornadoes that hit overnight, destroying offices and shops around North Fairfield Road near The Mall at Fairfield Commons.

A year later, some businesses are still fighting to survive.

Amanda Byers at the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce says local businesses have been hit hard, twice, in the last year.

“A lot of heartache for sure,” she says. “People were really excited to get back open, and then COVID-19 happened.”

The Chamber of Commerce is quick to note that it’s not just chain stores that were affected by the tornado. Doctors offices, small businesses, and local restaurants got knocked out, too.

Mike's Car Wash in Beavercreek. The business just reopened in March 2020, almost a year after the tornado and right when Ohio's COVID-19 restrictions were taking effect.
City of Beavercreek Facebook page

Some businesses, like Smith Orthodontics, rebuilt from the tornado just in time to have a ribbon cutting during a pandemic.

And while chain stores had corporate support to help them rebuild after the tornado, the pandemic is everywhere, putting Beavercreek’s mall tenants and big box stores in jeopardy, too.

The city is facing challenges as well. Long closures from the tornado and the pandemic have combined with new social distancing rules at all businesses to limit the amount of sales tax being collected, and sales tax is usually a reliable revenue stream in the mall area.

Byers likes saying “Beavercreek will rise” above it’s problems, but she also says the stores sure could use support right now.

“Shop local. Shop those shops. Go in and see them, and make sure you’re being kind,” she says.

The Mall at Fairfield Commons will be hosting a free drive-in movie on Thursday, May 28. “Onward” will be shown in the parking lot at 9 p.m. It’s the first in a new series of free drive-in movies called “Cinema Under the Stars.” Organizers are asking people to make reservations on EventBrite.