After tornadoes knocked them down, a Cookeville community market got back up

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Posted at 10:46 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 06:41:14-04

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Echo Valley Market, a popular food mart and gas station in Cookeville, has reopened nearly a year and a half after the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Middle Tennessee and killed 25 people and also destroyed the store.

"It was like someone took my life," said Aaron Patel, son of the store's owner. "Basically all my memories of life growing up were in that building."

But as we've seen time and time again in Putnam County since the tornadoes, this community is resilient.

"We knew we had to rebuild, this community was all we had," Patel said.

Customers now fill the store once again, and Patel knows many of them by name.

"These people are local, every single day," Patel said. "You see them in school, shopping markets, everywhere you go in town."

"I'm glad they rebuilt," one customer said. "Totally new and nice!"