By Nick Austin, Meteorologist / Reporter - bio | email
BRADLEY COUNTY (WRCB)-- If anything good can come from the April tornadoes, it's a boom in the construction business.
And, it came at a time when many contractors were out of work.
The recent housing industry in Bradley County had been lackluster to say the least. Unfortunately, it took a devastating weather event like the April storms to bring it back to life.
Dan Howell with the County Mayor's Office agrees.
"If there is a silver lining to the storms that came through here on April 27th, it would probably be the fact that it has given a boost in the last few months to the local housing industry," he says.
According to recent figures, 37 building permits were pulled in September alone, which will lead to millions of dollars in construction and contracting work in Bradley County and steady work for those who haven't found it.
Charlotte Jones of Cleveland-based Kace Construction is in charge of eight of the 54 storm-related residential permits pulled in the county since the tornadoes. She's keeping sub-contractors busy, and even hired an assistant to help her keep up with the extra business.
"The last three years have been tough," Jones says. "Work's been hard to find and the people that have held in there, they still have jobs now."
Tom Carlton of Cleveland Aluminum is one of Kace's sub-contractors on a rebuilding project on Lead Mine Valley Road. He says before the storms, revenue was around $150,000 to $200,000 a month.
However, he says, since the storms things have changed.
"Business tripled," Carlton says. "It's fortunate, but unfortunate."
"You like to do a lot of business, but you don't want to have to it that way," he adds.
A double-edged sword, yes, but the company added new warehouse employees and numbers on the sales representatives' commission checks look prettier.
Overall, the results are promising and the future looks brighter.
"We're glad that people are going back to work, and many of those people who were impacted, affected by the storms, are getting into new or remodeled homes," says Howell.
Howell speculates the September spike was due to storm victims receiving insurance settlements.
But industrial permits played a part, including Wacker, which will keep business steady for a while.