The Columbus Tornado Wiped Out BJ’s Dog Grooming, But Business Is Already Bouncing Back

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Several families and businesses are having to start over after an EF-3 tornado swept through Columbus, just over two weeks ago.

The owners of BJ’s Dog Grooming feared for the safety of their guests and the future of their business when they saw their building that night.

Now, slowly but surely, business is getting back to normal.

What could have been the worst thing imaginable for the owners of BJ’s Dog Grooming, turned out much better than expected.

All the pets being boarded in their kennels were safe, even though the building itself was demolished.

After a couple of days in a temporary location, BJ’s has a new permanent home and back to business as usual.

“We knew we had to get in there. First of all, we thought Kayla was in there, our employee, and then getting in there and just making sure everybody was okay, that was the main thing,” says owner Brittany Coover.

However, finding a way to get inside wasn’t easy.

The owners of BJ’s Dog Grooming were expecting the worst, once they realized where the February 23rd twister was headed.

“We were watching the news and we saw it go right past Gardner Boulevard and right where our business is, so we took off in town after we saw it go through. I tried calling our phone at the store and I knew if it didn’t ring, then something was wrong and then, I tried pulling up our cameras and if our cameras didn’t pull up, something else was wrong,” says owner, Chris Coover.

This is what the owners pulled up to after the tornado blew through.

Nine dogs, two cats, and a turtle all sat inside, while everything around them came tearing and falling down.

This room seems to be the only one spared by the tornado.

It just so happens to be the room where the dogs were staying.

“It was just amazing. Everybody was untouched. The front lobby, where the turtle was, the whole front lobby was gone, except the corner where the turtle was. The roof was still over it and everything. Everything was untouched.”

Since the front of the store was no longer standing, the Coover’s had to go through this side door to get to the shaken up pets.

Pets that some owners thought they would never see again.

“Even a couple of them didn’t even think that they were alive and then when we told them that they were okay, they were very, very shocked.”

Once inside the shredded building, the rescues started.

“I started letting dogs out and people started running to the door and grabbing them and started moving them to the other building across the street, that people opened up their doors to house our dogs, until we could find a better location.”

That better location came less than five days later, when the Coover’s bought this building to be the new BJ’s Dog Grooming.

“We’re adding suites, about 17 suites. We’re adding some more bedrooms, 8 x 8 bedrooms. They’re going to have TVs in each room, so the dogs can feel more at home. They’ll feel a little bit better and a little bit safer.”

After the pets were rescued and relocated across the street, Best Friends Animal Hospital offered to examine and house the dogs, until their owners could pick them up.

BJ’s Dog Grooming is now located at 81 Wilcutt Block Road, not far past the Lion Hills Golf Course.

Categories: Featured, Local News

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