As many businesses continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, several Sioux Falls businesses are still working to overcome the damage caused by last year’s tornadoes.
“As you can see we’re in the rebuilding process, all the damage is out of here and they’re starting the reconstruction. You can see a lot of the walls are there,” 41st Street Pizza owner Todd Pharis said.
Plenty of work remains before the Pizza Ranch can re-open.
“Originally when we worked with the contractor and insurance company, they were saying Sept. 1st, maybe earlier if possible, but with the COVID-19 crisis going on, we do expect some material delays, so now we’re talking October, maybe even November,” Pharis said.
Owner Todd Pharis is working to keep the public up to date on the progress, but the project is constantly evolving.
“Our first sign said mid-2020, then we saw we were going to be delayed, then another sign that said opening up late summer, then my most recent sign said opening in fall of 2020,” Pharis said.
They’re also working to replace some of the exterior damage, like a sign for the arcade that was installed the morning of the tornado.
“We had that sign for maybe 14 hours,” Pharis said. “It took the face of the sign, threw it in the air, put it through the roof and landed in one of our party rooms.”
Now that all of the damage is cleared away, they’re working to make the Pizza Ranch bigger than ever.
“Here’s where the two new party rooms will be back here and these will be the existing party rooms,” Pharis said. “We’re adding about 2000 square feet.”
And while they hate being closed, Pharis says the pandemic is helping to add some perspective.
“I guess if we were going to have a tornado hit us, it hit us at a pretty good time, because during this time we don’t have to worry about being closed in store,” Pharis said.
As many restaurants have laid off employees, Pharis is thankful all of his employees are still protected.
“We actually have insurance to cover all 110 of our employees, they’re on the payroll and they get 100 percent of their wages,” Pharis said.
Pharis said even though the store is closed, he and all of his employees are working to give back to the Sioux Falls community.
Wednesday they hosted a blood drive out in the parking lot, inviting all of their employees and the general public to come out and donate blood to help make up for some of the shortages blood banks are seeing due to covid-19. Pharis says his 41st Street Pizza Ranch does this kind of community give back every month, even while their doors are still closed.