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New numbers available on Joplin business recovery - KOAM TV 7

New numbers available on Joplin business recovery

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City officials in Joplin say new numbers show the city's business sector is well on its way to post-tornado recovery.

"A lot of people wanting to see what had happened with the tornado, so we felt like it was a good place to be," says Tony Mathis of Game Time Sports, a new sports store along 20th Street.

A former Tulsa resident with family in Joplin, Mathis moved his business to this area about three months after the tornado.

"It's time to get off the sidelines and start playing ball," Mathis says.  "I think there's no reward in life without risk."

Since the May 22, 2011 tornado:

  • 553 businesses affected
  • 468 have reopened or plan to reopen
  • 40 closed
  • 45 unsure (includes those still debating location and/or still settling with insurance)
  • 25 new businesses have opened

"They're doing their part to be open for business and really take a lead role in helping our community get back on its feet," says Kirstie Smith of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce.  "We saw a few people that were ready to retire.  They took the tornado as a little bit of an early retirement.  But we've not seen any business just say 'we're done with Joplin.'"

Mathis believes the business road to recovery is still just beginning.

"The people that live here don't look at it as, 'we're devastated right now',   We don't look at it as the city is all torn apart and run down.  We look at it as ok, things are starting to get back to normal we're rebuilding now."

Even with fewer businesses the past year city officials say sales tax revenue for the past 10 months has increased more than 10%.  If the trend continues the city of Joplin could have an additional $3 million in revenue.

City officials say this shows Joplin residents are doing what they can to help support their local economy recover from a disaster.

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