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Wadena Hide and Fur celebrates successful rebuild project

Photos by Rachelle Klemme Brother and sister Reino and Gertrude Karjalainen, left, line up for lunch served by Colter and Tyler Ehrmantraut of TC Backyard Bar-B-Q, during the Wadena Hide and Fur Open House on Wednesday. The event celebrated the grand opening of property rebuilt this winter to replace the warehouse and office totaled by the June 17, 2010 tornado.1 / 3
Wadena Hide and Fur's new building replaced the warehouse and office areas totaled by the June 17, 2010 tornadoes.2 / 3
Tim "Skinner" Stockwell, one of the Hide and Fur employees who rode out the June 17, 2010 tornado at work, was present at the business' open house on Wednesday to celebrate the new building.3 / 3

Tom and Rich Paper, owners of Wadena Hide and Fur, wanted to pick a sunny day to celebrate the rebuilding of their business property since the 2010 tornado - and Wednesday's event fit the bill.

The large office building was damaged by the June 17, 2010 tornado that ripped through Wadena and needed to be replaced. Construction started in September 2011 and was finished during the winter.

Just under 400 people attended the open house. Coffee and cookies were served all day long, with lunch served by TC Backyard BBQ.

During the busy lunch time, Rich Paper said the open house was going very well.

Longtime employee Tim "Skinner" Stockwell said the new post-tornado building is a step up from before.

"It's like the difference between a Volkswagen and a Cadillac," he said.

Stockwell, who has worked for Hide and Fur since 1977, was working at the time the tornado hit.

"I was one of the six in the bathroom," he said.

Tom Paper said that the business' warehouse roof was torn off and the walls were pushed off center when the tornado hit. The warehouse and office area were still standing, but were condemned and had to be rebuilt.

After the open house, the people running Wadena Hide and Fur can rest, knowing they have made a major comeback.