BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (February 8) — The owners of two of Dresden businesses destroyed in the December 10, 2021, tornado have confirmed their plans to rebuild.
Kris and Mike McCaslin have announced they are going to rebuild their business, Kountry Korner, located at 9308 Hwy. 22 in Dresden.
“We have removed everything from the building that we can re-use and we’re getting ready to start tearing it down to the slab for the rebuild,” Mike said.
He notes a major obstacle to rebuilding is the problem of obtaining construction materials. “From the day I order the building materials, it’s going to take four to six months before we can get the steel for the framework and get started rebuilding. I’ll also need brick, glass and other materials.”
“It will probably be December before we can reopen,” McCaslin said.
“We’re very grateful everybody still checks on us,” Mike said. “We have so many customers and vendors that have become our very good friends, and they have offered to help us in many ways.”
Kris and Mike started a GoFundMe page to help with the financial needs of their employees, particularly one of their chefs, Dee Cribbs, who lost everything when his home, located across the street from Kountry Korner, was completely destroyed by the tornado.
At last report, approximately $3,300 of the $25,000 goal has been raised.
“We’re already starting to disperse some of that money,” Mike said. “Part of the funds will go to the wait staff. Although they’re receiving some insurance money ($2.15 per hour), it doesn’t pay them what they were making. They just can’t make it on what the insurance company is going to pay. The wait staffing are the ones that suffered the most, because they survived mostly on tips. They were making good money, but that’s not happening right now. We can continue to pay these employees during our downtime, and they’re helping us every day with whatever we need to do.
“I think we’re going to give $2,500 to Cribbs and the balance of approximately $800 to the waiting staff,” Mike said.
“We’re fortunate to be in this community where we have a lot of good folks behind us, our intention is to build Kountry Korner back and offer all the same convenience store and restaurant services we offered before.
“Like other businesses in Dresden, we feel that we are a vital part of this community and will pull together to bring Dresden back to some state of normalcy.
“We will come back strong and look forward to seeing all our friends soon.”
For more information, call 731-364-3728.
Dresden 4×4 & Automotive Center
Jackey and Terri Lamb, owners and operators of Dresden 4×4 & Automotive Center, located at 518 Pikeview St., say their business is a total loss after taking a direct hit by the December 10, 2021, tornado.
Mr. Lamb said, “We’re still doing demolition right now. I talked with Martin building contractor J. Dale Bolding today (February 9) and he said he would give me a quote on everything.” The contractor said the materials should be available within a month. Lamb says he hopes to have his business rebuilt within four to six months.
When asked if he plans on expanding his business, Lamb said. “I have no plans to expand. We’re going to rebuild the shop the way it was before the storm.”
Dresden 4×4 is currently operating on a limited basis out of Big Ram Trailers at 1061 East Main St. (Paris Highway), which he owns and operates. “We sell trailers and rent U-Hauls at that location,” Lamb said.
Jackey states, he and his wife, Terri, along with their two mechanics – William Stout and Bill Perry, have been kept busy with demolition, cleanup and moving.
“I’m not going back as big as before,” Lamb said. “We have limited space, as well as limited equipment, at our temporary location. I’m not going to be doing any semi repairs or major engine work.” The only automotive repairs he plans on doing are installing alternators, starters, brakes and shocks, and providing oil changes, tire repair, and other minor mechanic jobs. Additionally, along with towing, unlocking vehicles, and roadside service, Dresden 4×4 also offers a mobile welding service.
A total of nine vehicles used at the business were totaled by the storm, including: six tow trucks, two service trucks, and one service van. One of the wreckers, as well as one rollback, and a tow truck that was in the shop, were not damaged, so the business is able to do continue towing. “That’s probably what we’re going to stay with – just three,” Lamb said.
The salvage storage lot at Dresden 4×4 was also destroyed by the tornado.
Although the Lamb’s home was not damaged in the storm, their two rental properties – a two-bedroom house and a three-bedroom home – we’re totaled and must be torn down.
“At first, I was ready to quit after the storm,” Mr. Lamb said.
He explained, “I’m 61 years old. I’m tired, and it’s hard to get any help these days. I had already told some of my customers, ‘I’m done.’ But they said, ‘What are we going to do? We’ve got to have you.’ And, it made me feel like I should reopen the business.”
The Lambs expressed their appreciation to the past patronage of their customers and to those that stopped by, called, and texted to show their support.
To schedule mechanic work or call for towing, dial Dresden 4×4 at 731-364-5110 or 731-514-0550. For additional information, go to the website at www.dresden4x4.com
The Lambs said, “We look forward to serving you in the future.”
Mr. Lamb asks everyone to keep his family in their prayers during this difficult time.