It has been 17 months since the deadly tornados of April 27, 2011. Since then, efforts to rebuild and move forward have been remarkable. In Tuscaloosa, for example, new businesses are reopening every week.
The City has launched a new ad campaign called "Tuscaloosa, We are Back!" It's mission is simple: promote businesses that have rebuilt since the storm and those still rebuilding.
Each 60 second P.S.A. features business owners saying the words "we are back" or "we are coming back."
Krispy Kreme was one of several businesses destroyed. Owner Evan Smith was one of those people featured in the spot.
"We're definitely honored, we're honored to be back and how receptive Tuscaloosa and the City of Tuscaloosa has been to work with and it's just an awesome thing," said Smith.
Currently 82% of businesses damaged in the storm have either rebuilt or have applied for a building permit.
"That's a pretty remarkable story, considering the challenges, we thought this story needed to be told," said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
In the months following the storm, several business owners were upset with the new zoning ordinances the city implemented. This ad was an olive branch from city leaders.
"It's a way for the city to give back to us for the issues and and the stuff that we've gone through," said Smith.
"Even those businesses that took a little bit longer, everybody wanted to come together to show off what the ultimate look of Tuscaloosa Forward is," said Maddox.
Smith said so far the ad has generated a positive response at his business.
"We have been overwhelmed with the response, glad to be back and glad they're still wanting the hot doughnuts," said Smith.
Mayor Maddox says the ad is just the beginning for the city.
"Look how far we've come but you haven't seen anything yet, you just wait six months from now, wait a year from now, you'll really be impressed," said Maddox.
Maddox says that the P.S.A. will be updated every 3-4 months. As businesses re-open their doors, they will be featured.
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