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Lee’s Summit business owners cleaning up mess left by tornadoes

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — Business owners in Lee's Summit are working to clean up the mess following this week's trio of tornadoes in and around the city.

Douglas Square Mall is still completely blocked off, as every single business in the mall sustained damage in the storm on Wednesday evening, and now business owners are trying to get their stores back to normal.

"(The) clean-up's tedious, and it`s going to take a long time, but we`ll get through it," says Laurie Meier, owner of Plato's Closet in Lee's Summit. Meier says the days since the storm have been stressful.

"Yesterday we had a company start taking the clothes out, four trucks came in, took all the clothes out to be cleaned, and then they`ll come in today and sunday to get it all out of here...we have to clean all of it," said Meier.

Another nearby store owner says cleaning everything wasn't in the cards for him.

"The numbers didn`t work out to do that, so we have to get rid of everything and start all over," says Lee Gardner, owner of Clothes Mentor. He says he won't be able to salvage a thing after the storm.

"It`s 100% loss, we have to get rid of everything because everything is water-logged, and it`s going to get all mildew-y," adds Gardner.

The storm knocked out the utilities and air conditioning, and the owners say the water damage is severe.

"Everything is starting to rust and we`re cleaning all our fixtures and just checking to see if there`s water damage we haven`t gotten to yet," Meier says. "We had a lot of storage in the back and that`s still flooded back there, got lots of water on the floor, so anything that was back there is pretty much ruined."

Both store owners say the storm hit them hard financially.

"We have a lot of inventory right now, because we were stocked up for back to school, our busiest season starts next week and goes through the beginning of school, so it`s going to run into hundred and thousands of dollars," says Meier.

"Just haven`t had a lot of sleep, a lot on my mind, just trying to figure out how to move forward and get the business reopened," Gardner says.

The National Weather Service says that the tornadoes were on the weaker end of the Enhanced Fujita scale, with one twister ranked as a EF-1 and the other two as EF-0's. Nobody was injured in the storms.