The Joplin, MO store of Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts was among the scores of businesses destroyed in the F5 tornado that swept through the heart of the city’s business district on Sunday evening, decimating the Joplin and killing at least 125 people.
The Jo-Ann’s store, located in a strip mall on Rangeline Road, was open for business at the time of tornado, and there were both staff and customers inside the store according to a Jo-Ann Stores spokesperson. There were no fatalities at the store, but the store itself was described by the company as destroyed.
As heavily damaged as this shopping center was, the area around it is largely completely leveled. Piles of debris mark the former locations of restaurants and shops lining the business strip. The video below can help give some grasp of the massive scale of the destruction in that area of Joplin. The Jo-Ann’s is the large store in the middle of the strip mall that appears across the street near the end of the video.
Jo-Ann Stores says that it is assisting both its employees and the community at large as they attempt to recover from this devastating event. Some Jo-Ann’s employees did unfortunately lose their homes in the disaster.
Other area crafts stores largely escaped damage in the tornado on Sunday. Hobby Lobby’s Joplin store – which is located near the devastated Walmart and Home Depot seen frequently in news reports – sustained relatively minor damage in the storm according to Facebook postings. The store’s windows were blown out and since the parking lot is being used as a staging area by emergency personnel, they will have to wait till the area is more secure to get approval from authorities to re-open the store.
Michael’s Stores’ location in Joplin was fortunate to be located approximately a quarter-mile outside of the tornado’s path. The store sustained no damage and there were no injuries.