NASHVILLE, Tenn. - You could call it the sweet side of a tornado. The historic Nashville twister that hit 20 years ago changed so many things -- from lives to livelihoods.
While the storm initially brought devastation, it ultimately also brought cupcakes, muffins, and cookies to one hard hit neighborhood in East Nashville.
"Donuts... donuts... we are trying to sweeten up your day a little bit." That was Dan and Ellen Einstein two decades ago as they made house calls to their neighbors -- all tornado victims.
"Just to pick their spirits up a little bit," said Dan.
Nowadays, their neighbors come to them. What the Einsteins did years ago in the wake of a devastating storm ultimately led to the Sweet 16th Bakery in East Nashville.
It all started with those donuts.
"I don't know. We just decided everyone just needed a little pick me up... a little sweet," they said.
A little sweet to ease the pain. Walking in their neighborhood today, they still remember the horrible damage like it was yesterday.
"It was unrecognizable. It was crazy. Hard to believe it's been 20 years," said Ellen.
In that time so much has changed. Homes had been crushed, trees toppled, but now you wouldn't know it.
"The trees are back. The power poles are standing up. Our windows are intact again," said Dan.
And in the aftermath of the tornado, new businesses took hold.
"I think it spurred growth in East Nashville," said Dan.
Some people did choose to move after surviving the storm. Dan and Ellen thought about it. Their home had been damaged, but they stayed, determined to rebuild their neighborhood.
And what's more? The tornado sparked their dream of opening a local bakery.
Now Sweet 16th thrives with the same energy that drove the Einsteins to deliver free donuts all those years ago.
"It's pretty cool. I love it," they said, laughing as they talked about how glad they are that they stayed.
Sweet 16th Bakery is located on North 16th Street in East Nashville.