Tornado ravaged business reopens after 11 months of rebuilding

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jun 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-04 18:51:26-04

WYOMING, Mich. – It has been a long year of rebuilding with construction issues and employee displacement for many, but businesses like Zeeland Lumber and Supply have reopened their doors.

Now 11 months after the tornado came without warning when several Zeeland Lumber employees almost lost their lives.

“They were under the truss table when the roof literally collapsed on top of the table,” said Mike Dykstra, Zeeland Lumber and Supply President and CEO.

Inside the back production space is the area where six employees dove under a work table when the tornado hit. That night the former building’s roof collapsed and was left looking like bare bones covered in rubble.

Those employees made it out safely in minutes and are back on the job. Now Dykstra called the damage “a blessing in disguise.”

Doors officially reopened Thursday and revealed a bigger space: a new showroom, office, more production, and a full staff back to work in Wyoming.

“We are back to full employment now considering where we were in July,” said Dykstra.

They rebuilt production space on its original footprint, but made it more efficient: installed LED lighting, insulation, and added some ergonomically sound machinery, like a truss stacker outdoors, which alleviates some heavy manual labor for employees.

“It’s really tough to understand the emotions and the challenge that we went through since July, since the tornado hit us, but in the end we’re thankful that we were given this opportunity to improve our business,” said Dykstra.