Handy Man owner reflects on Sioux Falls tornadoes

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The powerful storm that hit Sioux Falls one year ago tonight, brought more than tornadoes. Straight-line winds knocked down trees all over town and tore apart a business in the center of the city. But today when you go inside the Handy Man Home Remodeling Center, you’d never even know it was a disaster.

Handy Man owner Steve Swenson is hanging a new shower door in his display room, but he’ll never forget how the store looked a year ago.

“The store wasn’t damaged, it was destroyed. It ripped the roof open, it knocked a big sign off the roof. It rained for three days after that,” said Swenson.

While the store was a soggy mess, Swenson didn’t lose everything.

“We never lost a customer’s faucet or anything that was paid for. That was in the back and that was safe, so that was a cool thing,” said Swenson.

Handy Man reopened in a temporary location as the main store was being repaired. They started moving back in right after Christmas. Store manager Brian Bolcerek still can’t believe how quickly the business recovered.

“It’s amazing how quickly everything came together. Best part of the store, the new electric doors. You don’t have to hold them open to walk in and out anymore.”

Pictures of the damage sit on a counter for customers and staff to look at. While the images are still fresh in Swenson’s mind, that’s not the thing he remembers most.

“The outpouring of Sioux Falls and community people. The support was humbling, I mean it chokes you up,” said Swenson.

Swenson even had customers volunteer to help with the cleanup. After a long year of work and even battling through COVID-19, he can finally say…

“We’re back! That’s a good feeling,” said Swenson.

Handy Man’s owner says his business had good insurance and he wasn’t forced to lay off any of his staff.

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