Over the weekend, a strong storm system spurred a swarm of devastating tornadoes that shattered homes, businesses and communities in six states—Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. On Friday and Saturday, twisters carved a 250-mile scar in the landscape that left at least 88 dead—74 of which were in Kentucky—and left many along their path without heat, water and electricity amid extensive recovery efforts.

The fallout from the tornadoes has disrupted business operations throughout the region. Even businesses that were not directly damaged by the storm have told PPB Newslink that they are dealing with electricity and internet access outages, and employees are also managing these situations at their homes.

Supplier Fruit of the Loom (PPAI 133342, S5) closed its headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky—where the storm damaged buildings on the campus of Western Kentucky University and left one dead—on Monday and today. Sources at the company say that its offices and distribution center in Bowling Green were spared with no damage to speak of. Numerous employees throughout the organization were impacted as the tornadoes hit several residential areas, however, although there were no reports of serious injuries among the company's staff. Fruit of the Loom's offices were closed Monday and Tuesday. The closure allows employees time to help with the recovery efforts across the area and Fruit of the Loom will resume normal business hours beginning tomorrow.

The losses suffered by friends, family members and community members are also keenly felt, and have their own impacts on businesses in the area. Kathleen Pruitt, president of distributor Pruitt Promotions (PPAI 134555, D1) in Jonesboro, Arkansas, says, "We were blessed in Jonesboro that we were not directly hit by the recent tornado outbreak. Neighboring towns were not as fortunate. We had a nursing home that we do business with in Monette that was hit hard and where sadly one person died. Of course, our prayers continue to be with our neighbors as they rebuild."


PPAI asks for the industry’s help with identifying industry companies that may be affected by the tornadoes. Businesses that have temporarily closed due to the storm or are experiencing delays or disruptions can notify PPAI and provide information on their status or alternative ways for customers to contact the company or check orders. This information will be communicated to the industry in PPB Newslink, and through a continuously updated list on the PPAI website.