The Feb. 10 tornado that swept through the city destroyed an estimated total of 118 homes. And the businesses owners that the residents of those homes depend on are struggling to piece their lives back together as well. 


The Feb. 10 tornado that swept through the city destroyed an estimated total of 118 homes.


And the businesses owners that the residents of those homes depend on are struggling to piece their lives back together as well. 


“It took all my feed,” said Bobby Tolliver, owner of Morris Feed and Seed.


“It’s probably going to be a total loss.”


Standing about 20 feet away from a pile of debris that was his roof, Tolliver said Sunday he estimated that rains from the storm ruined about 75 tons of feed and the total damage from the storm was about $150,000.


“They were some ferocious winds, I know that,” Tolliver said.


“We’re not going to pick it back up. We’re done. The economy ain’t real good and everything. We’re just going to take our lumps and go back to Ringling and see what happens.”


Tolliver isn’t sure how much his insurance is going to actually cover for the feed store that has been serving the city for about six years, he said. Already, Tolliver has made plans to focus on his store in Ringling to keep alive the third-generation business that’s been in southern Oklahoma for three decades.


For Dustin Schreibvogel, who has been working at the feed shop for the past three years, this means he’s facing the expenses of paying for his associate’s degree from the Ardmore Higher Education Center.


“It’s going to be pretty expensive,” the 18-year-old said. “I think it’s going to be cheaper than going to OU or something, but it still ain’t cheap.”


In the same boat is John Taliaferro, owner of John’s Furniture, who lost his store to the storm's fury.


“My office was right there,” said Taliaferro, while sitting on top of a block of cement and facing a pile of rubble about a week ago. “My son played on the porch with my grandson (a few) days ago.”


Taliaferro had no insurance and still isn’t sure where the money to rebuild the store he first opened about 35 years ago will come from.


“I loved it. This whole building,” Taliaferro said. “This is real hard on my wife and I, but is real hard on those families who lost (loved) ones. It’s sad but it’ll be better, bit by bit, it’s just going to take time.”

The voices of these and other business owners struggling to rebuild their lives haven’t been drowned out by the destructive force of the tornado that ripped through the city on Feb. 10. The U.S. Small Business Administration is working with Federal Emergency Management Agency to help business owners get above water. 


“My heart goes out to all of the victims of the devastating tornadoes,” wrote Michael Flores, Public Information Officer for the SBA, in a news release from the agency. “I strongly encourage all of those affected by the tornadoes to register with FEMA and apply for SBA disaster assistance. This has been in many cases a life changing event, and the SBA is deeply committed to helping those in need.”


Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury in the form of low-interest working capital loans called Economic Injury Disaster loans. The SBA also works with homeowners, renters and private and non-profit organizations to try and cushion these and other blows. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property and homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence.


Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.com