Lufkin business face challenges two weeks after tornado

By Whitney Grunder - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin tornado has left business owners with mounting financial burdens. They say moving forward will be a long road ahead. Many owners say many questions and few answers are keeping progress in limbo.

"This is our peak season and we're going to miss our peak season this year," said Ginger Killman, owner J& G Hearth and Home.

"We're still waiting for the insurance adjustors to come back and tell us what we can and can't do with it," said Killman.

For Killman, it's doing whatever it takes to get her business up and running. In this case, a temporary move.

"It's hurting us because the building that we're going to move to, they're not ready for us over there, so we're kind of waiting for both places," said Killman.

Max's Welding Shop has served the community for 25 years. Owner Max Purgahn is out thousands of dollars, plus the business is uninsured.

"For all the premiums they would ask to insure this kind of equipment, that economically, I don't think it would be feasible," said Max Purgahn.

He has the equipment and 50 years of experience, so moving forward rests on one thing.

"We would like to be working but we don't have any electricity here and more or less just waiting to see what happens," Purgahn said.

Now business face the possibility of having to leave Lufkin after years of service.

"I'd like to stay here as long as I can and of course you know without facilities, I don't know that we can," said Purgahn.

A shared situation for many business owners: recovery is a waiting game. Some owners are turning to the Small Business Association loans for help.

Others say they have always been self-sufficient, and are determined to avoid taking on any debt.

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