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Business Owners Ponder Next Steps After Tornado Tears Up Preston Royal Shopping Center

Storm-wrecked Interbang Books in the Preston Royal Shopping Center.
Hady Mawajdeh
Interbang Books was relatively new to the Preston Royal Shopping Center. Other businesses were there for 50 years.

Last weekend’s tornado in Dallas ripped up storefronts at the Preston Royal Shopping Center. Business owners like Vince Martin have been working to clean up the mess and figure out what’s next.  

Martin has been selling furs for decades from his store at the shopping center in Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood. On Tuesday, he was on site salvaging what he could, moving a pile of fur coats for safe-keeping.

“I’ve had customers for 25 years, 27 years,” Martin said. “Some of them are dying off, unfortunately. But I like the interaction with the customers.”

But after Sunday’s tornado decimated the shopping center, Martin is thinking about closing his store.

Photo of Vince Martin
Credit Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News
Vince Martin has been selling furs for 40 years, 27 of those have been in the Preston Hallow neighborhood.

“It’s an abrupt end. I mean if you had your mind on it and said, ‘this is what I was planning…’ but I mean this is like overnight,” Martin said chuckling. “Hey! It’s over!” 

The 71-year-old loves what he does. He works with his wife; she's the only other employee at the store. He says they feel like part of the Preston Hollow community. But as he looked at all the destruction, he said it feels like the end.

“I was thinking about it anyway, and so this puts it more in that spin mode,” Martin said.

the Preston Royal Animal Center
Credit Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News
Dr. Sarah Thomas of the Preston Royal Animal Center said after the destruction caused by Sunday's storms, they're just hoping they can keep serving their patients.

Dr. Sarah Thomas works a few doors down. She’s a veterinarian at Preston Royal Animal Center. Her office was destroyed — the walls are caved in and the roof is gone.

The center has been operating out of Preston Royal for 50 years. 

Thomas said her clinic may have to move, and she isn’t happy about that.

“I’ve had puppies and kittens grow up until the end! And I’m there for my clients and their owners and for them,” she said. “And my people are this neighborhood. And their houses are gone, too. It’s sad.”

She cried, then wiped her tears and got back to work. She says she won't let a storm destroy the clinic’s 50 years of service to the neighborhood. 

Hady Mawajdeh has been a reporter, producer, and digital editor at KERA since 2016. He is the creator and the co-host of KERA's first narrative podcast, Gun Play. And prior to his work in engagement, he also reported on arts and culture, social justice, and gun rights for the newsroom.