Emergency Officials Helping Tornado-Damaged Businesses

WILKES-BARRE-- One week after an EF-2 twister ripped through businesses in Wilkes-Barre Township emergency management officials in Luzerne County are trying to help them get back on their feet.

The twister wrecked 23 businesses and it left many wondering if they’d get any help.

At a meeting for businesses impacted, emergency management officials showed business owners they have their backs, especially in this tough time.

“I told people it's the first time going through a tornado. Maybe I'll do better the second time,” Ronne Kurlancheek of Kurlancheek Home Furnishings said.

“It's been a little hectic trying to wear a couple of different hats between myself and my other co-managers,” Kenneth Scharlatt of Teaser’s Gentlemen’s Club said.

County officials said they’ll be there for these business owners every step of the way as they learn more about low-interest loan programs and help for their employees.

“Knowing that all those resources are there and we're not going through it alone is extremely beneficial,” Scharlatt said.

“We can really be that connector for them that says this is the right path to go and help them to get there,” Lindsay Bezick of the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce said.

Crews are already doing prep work to demolish the Kurlancheek Home Furnishings building on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township.

The owner says they have about 15 employees who worked there and they're transferring them to a temporary location in Edwardsville, which isn't open just yet.

“The first thing we want to do no matter what is any customer that has an order, we want to fulfill it,” Kurlancheek said.

Officials want to make sure these businesses stay in the Wyoming Valley if and when they rebuild.

“That area is such a vital part of not only the local community engine there but also the region as a whole,” Joseph Boylan of Argent Eagle Development said.

“We're not going anywhere. We've been in the area for too long so we're going to be here for a while,” Scharlatt said.

“We definitely want to stay in the Wyoming Valley. It's 112 years and going, that's how we see it,” Kurlancheek said.

The Kurlancheek Home Furnishings building on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township is scheduled to be torn down Friday at noon.

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