According to Laura Chanthalath, manager at High’s Chimney Service, business is booming. Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, her company might rebuild one chimney a day during the summer when business is slow. But now, thanks to Irene, “We’re completely booked. This has been a big boost to our business because the summer is extremely slow, especially in the chimney business. So it’s been good for us.”
Not counting lost man-hours and production, Irene is estimated to have cost at least $20 billion but, as the Washington Times wrote, “Economists say much of the rebuilding of roads, bridges and buildings, along with retail purchases … will recoup virtually all of the losses in the coming years.”
The tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, is expected to have a similar effect. Damage estimates range upwards of $3 billion but as a result, “We have opportunity in front of us,” says Kirstie Smith of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. June sales receipts in Joplin were up 5 percent already, compared to a year ago. She added, “The economic impact that we’re feeling right now is all very positive. [Relief workers from around the country are] staying here. They’re eating here. They’re shopping in our stores. It’s a devastating blow to the community, but really, it’s an opportunity that no other community gets…. We have 13 miles of ground that’s going to be empty, so the construction industry will obviously receive a little bit of a boon from that.”
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