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Cairo IGA reopens with new look, after tornado damage in March

The IGA grocery store in Cairo has reopened, after closing to repair damage from an EF-2...
The IGA grocery store in Cairo has reopened, after closing to repair damage from an EF-2 tornado back in March.(Source: WCTV)
Published: Oct. 22, 2019 at 11:36 AM EDT
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CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) - The IGA grocery store in Cairo has reopened, after closing to repair damage from an EF-2 tornado back in March.

The store on Second Avenue is one of many local businesses that had to close in order to rebuild what was torn down.

The storm ripped into the IGA's roof, ceiling, and wall, which forced them to gut the inside and start over.

Management says repairs were delayed due to backup from Hurricane Michael. Seven months later, the store finally finished most reconstruction to open by mid-October.

Operations Supervisor Chuck Hanks says it's a new and improved IGA from floor to ceiling.

He says the team's favorite parts are the new wood features inside the store, which are from local trees torn down in the storm.

“During the storm, the tornado that took us out also took out a lot of trees in Grady County. We took the trees and had them milled into wood. We used them to accent the store and actually rebuild the it,” said Hanks.

The special wood was also used to rebuild the store's front office, where IGA employee Sherrie Godwin went to hide during the storm.

"When I first went in there my thought ran back to the day of the tornado," said Godwin.

She says the new look now gives her peace. The team appreciates the pieces of history added to the new repairs.

"The store has just come along way. It's just awesome and beautiful when you think about what it looked like," said Godwin. "People have come in teary-eyed when they look around the store and see all the great stuff they did."

Aside from the symbolic wood, they say the store was also rebuilt and restocked in a way to better fit the needs of Cairo.

IGA management says there’s still several repairs that need to be finished, like the missing store sign off Second Avenue.

After months of hard work and long hours, they say they're proud of how far they've come. They're now hoping for the best for others still recovering across Cairo.

"We hope it shows even though something that drastic happens, you can overcome it and you can actually be better when you open back up," said Hanks.

For more information on the IGA’s store and hours, click here.

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