DENNIS SEID: Businesses continue to show resilience



Business owners always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.Maybe not quite like a Hurricane Katrina or a tornado, but they know that opening their doors every day is a fight for survival.

Being in business is about capturing market share, whether you’re a bank or a bakery. It’s about keeping your customers happy and finding new customers at the same time.

And if you’re a small business owner in particular, you’re on call 24/7/365.

Any business interruption means lost sales and lost profit.

In the immediate aftermath of the April 28 tornado, it wasn’t clear what businesses survived that terrible disaster.

The initial reports came in a flood: Vanelli’s was destroyed, Outback was destroyed, the Texaco and Shell were destroyed, Steak Escape was destroyed, the mall was hit.

Nearly two weeks later, we see how accurate – and inaccurate – some of the reports were.

And there is good news and bad news.

The mall wasn’t hit – it got some very minor damage and delayed opening a couple of days only because there was no electricity. Some businesses, like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Renasant Bank and BancorpSouth in the Barnes Crossing area reopened within a matter of days, thanks to generators.

But farther south on North Gloster Street, a cluster of businesses was hit hard.

As we all know by now, Vanelli’s is closed. For how long, we don’t know. The nearly 40-year-old Greek and Italian restaurant is a total loss, and owner voz Vanelli is weighing his options.

He’s got a lot to think about, as does anybody in his position.

He’s hinted that he’s willing to pass the torch on to someone who will carry the mantle of all that Vanelli’s stood for. Not just having great pizza, pasta and other dishes, but also having an open door and open heart for everyone in the community.

Can Vanelli walk away from his labor of love? Certainly. But does he want to? That’s another question altogether.

I know Vanelli the man and Vanelli’s the restaurant have many fans and supporters who want to see both up and running again as soon as possible in whatever way possible.

“I have survivor’s blood in me,” he said.


And that goes for other businesses who were hit hard by the tornado.

After looking at the devastation the tornado caused, it’s amazing that so many businesses are back on their feet.

Less than two weeks after the storm, several business that were closed due the disaster have reopened, including Blue Canoe, Holiday Inn Express, La Vino, Lost Pizza Neon Pig, Oscar’s, Outback and Tutti Frutti.

Some reopened the same week of the tornado – Community Bank, Holiday Inn Express and La Vino.

Real estate company Crye-Leike, whose plaza includes several of the previously mentioned businesses, found a new spot to do business as well. Real estate is all about location, location, location, and they found one.

Last week, I wrote about hope. This week, I wrote about resilience. And while this column is geared mainly toward businesses, “resilience” also applies for everyone else affected by the tornado.

Said futurist Jamais Cascio, “Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.”

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or

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