SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Eight years ago on June 1st, one of the strongest tornadoes tore through western Massachusetts from Westfield to Charlton.

The destruction of the tornado brought more attention to severe weather risks in the Springfield area which is otherwise a quiet area.

“You look at the midwest, there’s a lot of tornadoes out there, but in Springfield, Massachusetts on Main Street you would never expect a tornado to come,” David Glantz, owner of Buckeye Bros. Smokeshop said.

Springfield’s South End was one of the hardest-hit areas back in 2011, when the June first tornado hit.

“Across the street, obviously, the buildings were condemned. Next door over here the roof was completely torn off the building, I mean it was just crazy,” Glantz recalled. “The impact on me was I was out of business for 30 days.”

Some of the buildings destroyed were renovated after the June 1st tornado ripped through the neighborhood, including Dave’s Furniture.

But now Wahlburgers will be at the site where the furniture store once stood at the corner of Main and Union Streets in Springfield, right next door to Red Rose Pizzeria.

The owner of Dave’s Furniture sold his furniture store to MGM Springfield in 2014. And just across the street at Milano Imports, the owner told 22News, their establishment suffered extensive damage after the deadly storm, forcing them to close their doors for seven months to get repairs done.

“We’re still working on it,” co-owner Nick Recchia said. “We’re still working on the three units we used to have for rentals uptairs. Unfortunately, the insurance didn’t quite cover everything. So, we’re working on it right now.”

In the eight years since the tornado hit, Main Street has bounced back to being a lively downtown destination, especially with the opening of MGM Springfield.

Recchia said, “Seems to be a little more vibrant down here. There’s more people coming down, so we’re very pleased with it.”

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