LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock is still in recovery mode following the EF-3 tornado on Mar. 31 and many businesses are struggling to reopen due to the damage.
Pavilion in the Park off Cantrell Road was one of the buildings with significant damage following the tornado. The entire building is still closed as repairs are being made and the roof is being secured.
Trio’s Restaurant is on the corner of Pavilion in the Park and has been without gas since the tornado and is also recovering from damage to the outside of the building.
Stephanie Caruthers is a partner of the restaurant who was working when it happened. She was outside with a few other business owners and employees when they saw the tornado headed their way.
“We knew. We looked at each other and I just said, ‘You can come into our kitchen or wherever,’ we just all ran into our own units,” Caruthers said.
Caruthers ran into Trio’s screaming a warning to not only her employees but the customers who had decided to wait out the storm in the restaurant.
“We had some older guests, and a mother of a baby, and a small child,” she said. “I just said, ‘It’s here… it’s here.’”
She said after the storm, there was another wave of panic as they noticed something else.
“There was a car that was tossed around in the parking lot and hit the gas meter, so it was very loud,” she said. “You could hear it, just the gas gushing out.”
She said the fear of it exploding kept everyone away until the car was lifted off and it was shut off. That gas valve still needs to be repaired for the business to have gas and be able to operate.
Other businesses in Pavilion in the Park cannot reopen until the building owners notify them that it is safe to be back in. Caruthers said this could take a few weeks, but it is hard to know right now.
In the meantime, she said building owners, construction workers and insurance companies have been beyond helpful in the recovery process.
“It is going to take a while, but they are working around the clock to make it happen,” she said. “Literally worked around the clock on Easter Sunday.”