One Year Later, Businesses Slowly Recovering from Wilkes-Barre Township Tornado

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- One business is cutting the ribbon on its new location one year after it was destroyed by a tornado.

Barnes & Noble and dozens of other business at the Arena Hub Plaza were destroyed by a tornado last year.

Businesses slowly came back to the area while others chose to rebuild elsewhere.

An EF-2 tornado ripped through businesses in Wilkes-Barre Township around 10 p.m. on June 13, 2018.

It took months for stores to get back on their feet.

It would be tough to tell this Barnes & Noble was ripped apart by a tornado last year in Wilkes-Barre Township

With books on shelves and customers browsing the aisle, it's a very different scene than one year ago when a tornado ripped through the Arena Hub Plaza.

Store manager Sean Yustat was watching storm coverage on the news that night when he saw the book store was damaged.

"It feels like this thing happened almost last week. It is still really fresh, especially over the past month, all the tornado reports and warnings coming through," Yustat said.

Developers say the businesses that were at the Arena Hub Plaza were knocked down but not out by the tornado.

A year later, there are plans to change this empty lot where a building once stood into new business.

"We were fortunate to set up a team of professionals that helped us navigate through the challenges and everything worked out in a real positive way, so we were thankful for that," said Robert Tamburro, owner of the Arena Hub Plaza.

The book store set up a temporary space until reopening earlier this year back at the Arena Hub, much to the delight of frequent customers and the plaza's owner.

"I love books and it was really a loss not having it here. I was looking around and you can get so many things up here more so than at Amazon or things like that," said shopper Gloria Woronowicz.

One year later, Kurlancheek Home Furnishings celebrated its new store with a ribbon cutting in Forty Fort.

The furniture store on Mundy Street was destroyed by the tornado. Kurlancheek set up a temporary location in Edwardsville.

The store celebrated its opening on Welles Street in Forty Fort Thursday morning.

"6 a.m. in the morning was the earliest I could get there and at that point when you look at it, it was like a tornado went in the front door went through the entire building and came out the back," Ronnie Kurlancheek recalled.

The store was closed for months until Kurlancheek set up a temporary location in Edwardsville

"Like a snowplow, everything was pushed together. Who in their wildest dreams would think that could happen/" Kurlancheek asked.

Now the store is celebrating its future at a permanent location on Welles Street in Forty Fort.

"My staff, we went through all of this together and they are here to see it finished and I feel like I am so happy. I am so happy to be home," said Ronne Kurlancheek.

With the tornado in the past, Tamburro plans future development at the shopping center.

"There are very little signs of tornado damage here next door. We razed two buildings after the tornado and we are replacing them with two new retail buildings. that is what we are working on now," said Tamburro.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.