Flooded Corinth stores get back in business

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Four weeks after devastating storms flooded several businesses, some have already reopened and others have announced they expect to reopen soon.
Although Kmart’s reopening date is uncertain, Belk will be resume business June 11, Kroger by mid- to late June and JC Penney in early October.
“We are presently shooting for somewhere in the next two to four weeks, predicated on equipment coming in,” said Joe Bell, manager of marketing and public affairs for Kroger.
His store was among those sustaining major damage when storms swept across Northeast Mississippi on May 1-2. Alcorn County was among the areas hardest hit by floods, with Corinth receiving more than 12 inches of rain in about a 26-hour period.
Bell said the Kroger store has been repainted and has new flooring and cases.
“Basically, to the consumer, it will look like a fairly new store inside,” said Bell, noting that the pharmacy is being completely remodeled.
The walk-up window at Kroger’s pharmacy has been open to serve customers since the week after the storms.
Kroger is located in the Fulton Crossing Shopping Center at Fulton Drive and U.S. Highway 72. Plans for Kmart, which has shared retail space at the same shopping center, are not fixed yet.
“We are working with the landlord to rebuild,” said Kmart spokeswoman Kimberly Freely. “Employees have been given financial assistance, informed on how to maintain their benefits and put on a temporary leave of absence until a date can be determined.”
At the Southgate Shopping Center on Cass Street, the Belk department store is set to reopen next week. Other businesses in the shopping center – Dollar General, Shoe Department, Bookland, Maurice’s, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Pizza Inn – already have reopened.
“Our goal is to reopen the store as quickly as possible so we can resume serving our customers and provide the merchandise they need,” Belk store manager Linda Hastings said.
Shoppers have to wait a bit longer for the JC Penney store in the shopping center. The company is targeting early October for the reopening “with a new look,” said spokeswoman Ann Marie Bishop.
About 30 associates at the store have been affected by the temporary closing, she said, and the company has paid their salaries through May 29. They will be on unpaid leave until called back to prepare for the reopening.
The state is providing disaster unemployment assistance for workers whose employer suffered physical damage or destruction from the storms.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.