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Several Baxter Springs Businesses Begin to Reopen
By Felicia Lawrence
BAXTER SPRINGS, KS.--- For 16 years, Weston's Route 66 Cafe has been at 1737 Military Avenue. Owners, Don and Susan Weston don't plan on letting a tornado change that.
"People wanted us to come back and so that's the reason we did. We thought about retiring, but we're back in business again," said Don Weston, Weston's Cafe Owner.
On April 27th an EF-2 tornado ripped through the City of Baxter Springs, swallowing Weston's Cafe, along with hundreds of other homes and businesses. Leaving many people wondering if the city would ever be the same.
"Most of your businesses that went down have either moved and opened back up, or we have a couple that's in the process of opening back up. But, I think right now, business-wise, we're doing pretty good," said Charlene Hunley, Chamber of Commerce President.
In addition to Weston's opening, El Cabrito's has relocated and reopened. Marvin's Grocery Store reopened soon after the tornado. Work crews have been restoring Star Lube, which is expected to be complete by the beginning of November.
"Any businesses is the life-blood of a town here. People shop here, they trade here, if they're not here, they're going to go out of town and spend that money," said Randall Trease, Mayor of Baxter Springs.
Which is why the Chamber of Commerce, the Long-Term Recovery Committee, and city leaders are working diligently to attract new businesses and fill the empty lots on Military. With all of the combined effort, there will hopefully be more success stories like the Weston's.
"I think the city and the county have both done a tremendous job as far as helping us get back to where we should be at," said Weston.
The mayor did express that there are still many people who are displaced from their homes and they are working to provide what support they can. There has been a lot of work in the past four months, but the City of Baxter Springs still has a long way to go.