Bowling Green business plans to reopen one year after being hit by deadly December tornado

Posted at 5:41 AM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 07:48:21-05

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVF) — The December 11, 2021 tornado damaged nearly 100 businesses in Bowling Green. Rian’s Fatted Calf Meat Market was one of those severely hit.

Owner Rian Barefoot is hoping to reopen by Christmas. Crews have been working on the finishing touches as they reflect all they’ve accomplished in the past year.

It’s been a year since Barefoot heard the sound of customers in his shop. “I try to stay busy and do things around the house. It’s gonna feel good to get back into a routine," he said.

Immediately after the tornado hit he rushed to his shop and was shocked by the damage. “It was like a waterfall coming through our roof, wind was blowing everything inside, all these windows were busted out," he said.

An EF3 tornado swept through the streets, leaving parts unrecognizable. The Fatted Calf took a major hit, but one it could recover from. Barefoot says dozens of people showed up to help clean up in the following days and weeks.

Every day he's been working to rebuild, making sure the store still looks and feels the same as it once did for his customers. “The people around here, that makes me want to be able to get open to serve them again," said Barefoot. “I can’t give you a count on my hand how many people have helped us through this.”

As the one-year anniversary approaches, he’s taking time to remember what was lost and what’s been found: hope and community through hardship.

“Material things can be replaced, but people can’t," he said. "You just don't find that everywhere. That’s the tight-knit community that Bowling Green is.”