Ruth Ann and Bob Wedel lost almost every single thing in their bulk foods business in Greensburg, Kansas, to the May tornado that flattened the town.
This was supposed to be their retirement business. They successfully built it up from just the two of them, to having six helpers. It looked like they would be able to sell it at a profit, as they approached retirement. Instead, they dug through the rubble of their business, salvaging only a few items.
How to survive immediately? They merged with a friend’s catering business. Creating a successful partnership is hard. Doing it on the fly with no advance preparation is doubly so.
By our visit at the two month mark, the Wedels were serving lunches every day, from under tents in a parking lot. The next day, they were expecting to receive a carport to work under. Wow, what a luxury!
Ruth Ann explained some of the difficulties of locating a temporary trailer to work from, finding a site for it, and rebuilding their original building downtown.
Of course, the Wedels face big gaps between what FEMA, charities, and other groups provide. Money, spendable money is the largest problem. Assistance takes time, but bills must be paid today.
But Bob and Ruth Ann are plugging along. Serving lunches daily, catering weddings and celebrations in surrounding towns, and juggling all the rebuilding issues. WB’s is coming back. One step at at time.
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