The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 22, 2012

Joplin businesses recognized by chamber during ribbon-cutting ceremony

As thousands of people streamed down 26th Street as part of Joplin’s Walk of Unity, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce marked the recovery steps taken by the town’s business community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday near the reconstructed Kraft Insurance Services/Wilson-Turner-Gavin.

Though the office, located east of the destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center, was severely damaged by the EF-5 tornado that ripped through the community a year ago, the staff of Kraft Insurance was focused on helping clients.

Randy and Shelly Kraft remember the hectic days after the storm as they battled the weather and limited communications to handle thousands of claims.

“We had to jump right in,” Randy Kraft said. “The first day, it was game on. When it was all said and done, we had about 2,000 claims. We worked over 600 in the first three days using three cellphones.”

Randy Kraft said the business’s computer server room was spared from severe damage, and the staff was able to salvage client information. The Krafts rented a room at the Holiday Inn and moved their entire operation into the small space.

He said the couple quickly made the decision to rebuild their business, which has been a chamber member since 1956, but this time with a few additions. He said the refurbished building includes some reinforced rooms, including a safe room protected by layers of plywood, concrete board and steel reinforcing bar. He said a generator also is being installed.

In his remarks at the ribbon-cutting, chamber President Rob O’Brian recalled the days after May 22, 2011, when the chamber staff worked to make contact with affected business owners.

“It was difficult to get into contact with them because phone lines were down and the cell services were overwhelmed,” he said. “We had people out here in the path of the storm contacting business people, putting information in their hands and encouraging them to get to the resources as quickly as possible.”

O’Brian said the chamber worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, the city of Joplin, and the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Missouri Southern State University to assist business owners in the recovery.

“I’m not sure anyone was prepared for a disaster of this magnitude, but what we did know was that it was critically important to get information into the hands of businesses and let them know the resources that were available to them,” he said

O’Brian said the real credit, however, belongs to the individual business owners who made the decision to rebuild.

“They have gone above and beyond, not just to reopen their doors, but to keep their employees on the payroll and take care of them,” he said.

O’Brian said that of the 553 businesses destroyed or severely damaged in the storm, 446 — almost 81 percent — have reopened. Of the 5,000 jobs that were affected, the chamber estimates that 3,000 people are back to work.

Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said the return of so many businesses has been key to the success of Joplin’s recovery.

“Without the businesses coming back, we wouldn’t be the same,” she said after the ceremony. “We’re really thankful that the businesses are coming back, because they were hit so hard, but they are vital to the community.”

Business contributions

COCA-COLA donated a new warehouse in the Crossroads Center Business and Distribution Park to the Joplin School District. It was opened last fall as the temporary site of East Middle School.

SNC SQUARED TECHNOLOGY was up and running just five hours after the tornado leveled its building. The company, which specializes in electronic medical records, says it recovered 100 percent of client data — 350,000 patient records — within three days.

Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter