Contact: Lori O. Willis

Director of Communications


May 15, 2003

DeSoto Schnucks Ravaged by Tornado Will Reopen Friday, May 16

Just 10 days after a tornado swept off its roof, the Schnucks Store at 20 Jefferson Square in DeSoto will be back in business by noon on Friday, May 16.

According to Ross Hutsel, director of facilities engineering, in addition to damage to the roof, the store sustained nearly one million dollars in damages to its interior including electrical systems and inventory. Hutsel said, "Our landlord, Clifford (Jack) W. Gannon of Desoto, expedited the installation of a new roof and Schnucks teams have been working around the clock to get the store back in operation for the community."

Despite the devastation, there were no injuries to customers or to associates thanks, in part, to the quick thinking of Kimberly McGary, an assistant grocery manager. McGary moved everyone into a dairy cooler for protection while the storm raged outside, sending high winds and rains through the store.

Dianna Pasley, Schnucks director of food safety, was one of the company's first on the scene and spent days going through the rubble and evaluating inventory. Formerly a director in the Jefferson County Health Department, Pasley has 14 years of experience in helping communities battle back after catastrophes, handling everything from truck wrecks to storms and fires.

Pasley explained, "In my current capacity with Schnucks, my goal is to make sure that no people or animals have access to food that is not safe for consumption. I make determinations on what is salvageable and what should be discarded." She added, "In this case, all product was removed from the store. We destroyed some product, and the rest was turned over to a salvage operator."

Throughout the cleanup effort, Schnucks partnered with community organizations to bring relief to the area. Pasley said, "People who relied on wells and pumps had absolutely no water so associates at our central office coordinated water deliveries to the Valley Ambulance District." Jefferson County Health Department officials say this could have been a life saving move as temperatures rose to nearly 90 degrees with high humidity in the days following the storm.

According to Randy D. Wedel, senior vice president of marketing and merchandising at Schnucks, customers will be amazed at the transformation at Friday's opening. "While we regret the loss of product in the storm, we were able to seize the opportunity to completely clean and replenish the store. By the time we open our doors for business, the DeSoto Schnucks will be restocked with all new product, offering our customers the freshest possible meat, produce, deli and bakery goods, all delivered within hours of our reopening."

Wedel continued, "We appreciate our customers' patience and their understanding of the large task we faced in getting the store reopened. We look forward to seeing them this weekend."

Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 100 stores and 92 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi. This includes five Logli Supermarkets. Schnucks, a family-owned company founded in 1939, is currently ranked 83rd in Forbes Magazine's list of the nation's "Top 500 Private Companies."

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