Destroyed by tornado, rebuilt Restaurant Depot to finally open

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A year after the tornadoes, some Harrison Twp. businesses like Restaurant Depot have rebuilt while North Plaza shopping center businesses have been razed to concrete slabs. Other businesses along North Dixie Drive and homes on its side streets are seen from the air in various stages of recovery.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Restaurant Depot in Harrison Twp. will finally open its doors for business Wednesday.

The wholesale supplier to the foodservice industry was weeks away from opening last year when a Memorial Day tornado ripped apart the $7 million project forcing the company to rebuild.

MORE: Businesses battered first by tornadoes, now by coronavirus

Doors will open at 7 a.m. at 3700 Keats Drive with some employees who were hired even before the storm, said John Blandford, the company’s regional sales director.

“We were about five weeks from opening the store and the tornadoes came through,” Blandford said. “You’ll hear the most excitement out of our store employees. They can’t wait.”

PHOTOS: Memorial Day tornadoes: Harrison Twp. from above then and now

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday’s grand opening won’t be as grand as hoped, Blandford said. A formal ribbon-cutting and food event will wait until later.

Restaurant Depot sells equipment, supplies and food to businesses, government agencies and charitable groups. The Harrison Twp. location is the 137th store opened by the company based in College Point, N.Y. It has four other Ohio locations in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

MORE: Business destroyed in tornado at Harrison Twp. traffic circle to rebuild

The store will start with 25-35 employees, nearly all fulltime, and add workers as sales grow, Blandford said.

With the promise of new jobs coming to the township, officials are happy the company made the decision to rebuild following the tornadoes and about two years after the company first broke ground.

“This was probably one of the most challenging projects we completed,” said Harrison Twp. Administrator Kris McClintick. “They were committed to this area. There were plenty opportunities where they could have walked away but they faced every challenge and overcame it … We are excited. This is a big win for Harrison Twp.”

The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exceptions of Thursdays when hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.