Best way to help Manzanita rebuild? Come spend money

"The best thing people could do right now: Come in and spend money"

Free Hand in Manzanita is back open 7 days after an EF2 tornado touched down, October 21, 2016. (KOIN)
Free Hand in Manzanita is back open 7 days after an EF2 tornado touched down, October 21, 2016. (KOIN)

MANZANITA, Ore. (KOIN) — After spending a week cleaning up the mess left behind by an EF2 tornado that ripped up trees and destroyed buildings in Manzanita, many store owners are thrilled to be back in business.

“Thank goodness we are open,” Brenda Smith, the manager of stationery shop Salt & Paper, said. “Seven days of cleanup… that’s a lot of revenue missed.”

Now she and many others hope to make up for lost time.

Smith welcomed customers into her shop Thursday for the first time since the tornado hit. She said the twister trashed her patio, blew open a door and brought a swirling mess inside Salt & Paper. A smashed window covered merchandise in glass.

“Paper… fabric, anything that glass could hold onto,” she said.

Smith was forced to toss out merchandise ruined by the event and count the dollars lost on what would have been a busy weekend. And she wasn’t alone.

Businesses on the hard-hit Landeda Avenue, including Manzanita Sweets and Free Hand, are back in business despite some boarded up windows. Others like Moxie have found temporary places to sell their products while the cleanup continues.

“A lot of people have been asking, very kindly, how they can help Manzanita,” visitor’s center manager Dan Haag said. “[The] very best way to participate in the recovery of Manzanita is to come to Manzanita… Come stay at your favorite place, [eat] at your favorite restaurant, shop at your favorite store, take a walk on the beach.”

Free Hand owner Emily Knight described Manzanita as a hidden gem. She said the small coastal town needs the support of outsiders in order to keep going.

Haag estimates there are only 3-4 businesses left to go.