By Morgan Bryce
All Opelika resident Trey Capps could do was watch his television on the afternoon of March 3, hoping and praying his business would not be affected by an incoming line of severe weather.
Owner and operator of Capps Sausage on Lee Road 100, Trey had recently returned home from working a half-day at the shop when evidence of tornado damage in that area began to be reported.
“I saw something on the screen that confirmed a tornado was on the ground, and then there was this blue graphic showing actual tornado debris. They zoomed it in and it showed Lee Road 100, and that’s when I knew something was wrong,” Trey said.
After the first tornado passed, a second tornado spawned, preventing Trey from going to assess the damage. Following the second tornado, Trey departed on a nearly 90-minute journey, driving over downed power lines and tree limbs and through pastures to get to his family’s land.
The EF-4 tornado, nearly a mile in width with sustained winds of 170 miles per hour, ripped off the shop’s roof and damaged the ceiling, but left the structure intact overall. Other buildings on the family property, however, were not so fortunate.
The home of Trey’s parents Billy and Jane parallel to the shop was left decimated and unsalvageable, along with a barn that housed vintage tractors and farming equipment that was “just simply gone,” according to Trey.
“As I was walking up, I started seeing pieces of tin everywhere. And once I got up to (my parent’s) house, it just looked like a bomb had gone off,” Trey said. “Pictures just don’t do it justice.”
In the hours and days after the storm, photos of Trey’s parent’s house surfaced with national media coverage of the storms, being shown in a CNN segment and with an online article in the Washington Post.
While assessing the shop, Trey said he realized the structure was salvageable, but was unsure whether he could reopen before season’s end win late April. With assistance from friends, he was able to cover exposed areas to prevent that evening’s rain from causing further damage to the shop’s equipment and interior.
Repair efforts are in progress, and Trey said he has a projected reopening date of March 29.
“I knew this wasn’t the end. I’m the third generation to have a hand in this business and I want to and hope to keep it going for as long as I can and pass it to a fourth,” Trey said.
Like and follow the shop’s Facebook page for updates as the projected opening nears. It is located at 555 Lee Road 100.