MARSHALLTOWN – It’s been nearly a year since an EF3 tornado decimated Marshalltown. Dozens of homes and businesses are still flattened. Tonight, we hear the story of a local bike shop that found a silver lining in the storm.
“July 19th is one of our measurable busy days so we had a store full of employees and a store full of customers,” says Matt Gerstandt, the owner of Black Tire Bike Co.
It was two days before the start of RAGBRAI and Black Tire Bike Co. in Marshalltown was buzzing with bikers.
But then the tornado sirens went off.
“We didn’t know how scared we should be.”
Gerstandt says he and about half a dozen people huddled up in the basement and waited for the storm to pass. When he came upstairs, he couldn’t believe what he saw.
The building wasn’t in good shape. The third floor collapsed and part of the roof was torn off, causing serious water damage. Black Tire Bike Company closed for about two months before opening a temporary location in the mall.
“It’s like living at a hotel, it’s not bad but you don’t unpack you don’t do anything you just set up ang go.”
Even though the tornado brought a lot of destruction, stress and uncertainty, Matt was able to stay pretty optomistic through it all and he was actually able to re-model his store into something he always dreamed of.
“It has been a very nice silver lining to a tornado is to have a lot of the things we couldn’t always afford to do, the way we want to do them.”