Some Collins Road Square businesses still closed following derecho damage

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Even nearly two months following the powerful August 10 derecho, some Marion businesses are still forced to be closed.

The storm caused significant damage to the Collins Road Square strip mall, just across the street from Lindale Mall. Up and down the storefronts, shoppers are greeted with the same message: closed.

“The water damage from the rain coming in and the wind damage blowing off the HVAC units and none of it can be seen from the sidewalk and so, people are wondering how come we aren’t open yet,” Bruce Taylor, owner of the Collins Road Theaters, said.

Taylor said it’s mainly damaged inside, which could keep him and other retailers closed for months. That’s on top of some delays in construction.

“There has been a drain on resources trying to get cranes and crews and things like that done,” Taylor said.

The inside of the theater is almost unrecognizable. All of the ceiling tiles, flooring, and some seating will have to be replaced.

“But at least we still have our front doors, which is better than a lot of business came out,” Taylor said.

Other shops are completely boarded up, like Austad’s Golf. According to their Facebook page, they’re still not sure when they will reopen.

Down the sidewalk, Betty Jane Candies closed the Marion location for good. An employee said that the effort to repair just wasn’t worth it after the novel coronavirus pandemic shifted most of their sales online.

The pandemic is also another concern for Taylor.

“Business was slow [after the COVID-19 closure] because the public wasn’t ready to get out to the movie theaters yet, but it was starting to increase slowly but surely,” Taylor said.

Insurance is helping the theater owner cover the cost of some repairs and other losses for now.

“…but what happens when all that’s done is still scary with the COVID situation,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he hopes construction will be done in about a month, but said it could last even longer.

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