DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - A Dougherty County gas station and convenience store, that was heavily damaged by the January 22nd tornadoes, is back open.
The Flash Foods was in one of the most heavily devastated neighborhoods. It's on the corner of Holly Drive and US-19.
The horrific winds that blew through Dougherty County on Albany 22nd may not have physically lasted long, but the destruction they caused is still very much seen today.
"It was raining so hard. It was like clear white," said Flash Foods manager, Rosheenia Golden.
Golden had just finished her shift at the Flash Foods on January 22nd, and was a few minutes down the road, when the skies turned black.
"My car was rocking and so I pulled over," recalled Golden. "In about a minute or so it cleared up and the sun came out."
In that minute the Holly Drive area was battered by mother nature.
"Our sign was gone, pieces were thrown across the street," said Golden.
On Friday, nearly three months later, some areas have made progress. Others are at a standstill.
The Paradise Village mobile home park has barely been touched. Across the street, cars that had been filling up on gas at the Citgo haven't moved from how the wind left them.
"Obviously you can't fast forward, what are we now, 60 days later, and see an amazing transformation that quickly, there was just too much devastation," said Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes.
The opening of Flash Foods on Friday served as a glimpse of hope.
"Oh my goodness we are so happy," said Golden.
She said she missed her customers. She'll really miss the ones who had homes that are no longer standing.
"After devastation like this, just about anything that puts a red rose on something is wonderful," said Amos Sanders, a longtime customer.
Commissioner Hayes said the Flash Foods was one of many businesses that were destroyed. Its opening is a sign of revival.
"It's going to take a long time and a lot of work, but as we see signs of progress it really does bring hope into all of us of a much brighter future," said Hayes.
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