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The Buzz: Rising from disaster

Apr. 8, 2014
 
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Two Fox Cities businesses struck by separate disasters will mark this month as their official return to normal. Ken’s Sports in Kaukauna was hard hit by August’s tornado and Futek’s building in Neenah was destroyed by fire two years ago.

At Ken’s Sports, W2520 County JJ, the tornado took out the entire boat showroom, part of the main store housing motorcycles and ATVs and blew the roof off an apparel storage building.

Jay Vander Loop, a member of the family that owns the business, looked at the rubble in the dark early hours of Aug. 8. His insurance guy, standing next to him, warned that it was going to look a lot worse by the light of day. It did.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Vander Loop said. “You find out that you have great employees, family and customers. We had a lot of support.”

The insurance company sunk more than $1.3 million into the rebuild and renovation, which now matches the company’s new Honda showroom. They’ll show it all off at a public open house and barbecue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Over in Neenah, the Futek building at 540 Discovery Drive had gone up in flames two years ago this month, likely from a lightening strike during a storm.

“It was a total loss. The machines were melted. We had to rebuild the building and buy all new equipment,” owner Fred Elhami said. Losses there, covered by insurance, were also about $1.3 million.

Futek prints barcode tags, forms and labels. It privately will commemorate the anniversary of the fire and company’s rebuilding with its suppliers and business customers.

— Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or mwallenfang@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @wallenfang

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