Downtown businesses look to the future

‘We will rebuild’

The Orpheum has posted signs on its doors and released messages on its website and through social media stating: “The Orpheum Theater Center sustained significant damage during the July 19 tornado. We will be closed until further notice as we assess damages and make arrangements for the needed repairs. All scheduled events and activities are canceled until the facility is deemed accessible and safe to use.”

With the widespread devastation that’s been felt over the last several days, downtown businesses find themselves in varying levels of disarray.

Aaron and Michele Buzbee own Zeno’s, 109-111 E. Main Street, a pizza eatery that has been in operation since 1952.

“We’re unable to really get up on the roof right now, so we aren’t sure it’s stable, and we’re concerned about loose bricks falling off the roof,” Aaron said. “The most extensive damage is our beloved neon sign that got really hit.”

The Buzbees’ home was also damaged in the storm, with the couple splitting time between evaluating the damage there and at the restaurant.

“I would hope that we would reopen in a week, and then maybe be able to do some carryout orders,” he said.

Your Plate or Mine Eatery and Catering, 220 E. Main Street, like the Orpheum Theater, had its front windows blown out. Ceiling tiles collapsed and there is no electricity. Its owner Leona McDonough said she will fulfill her catering orders out of the Binford House’s kitchen — one of the sites in which she provides food services. Middle: Zeno’s sustained damage to its roof and had extensive

The Buzbees, who operate the Fiddle & Whistle Irish Pub, 20 W. Main Street, said that establishment sustained minimal damage.

“The support has been overwhelming. It’s really touched Michele and I. We’re still in shock,” he said.

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Sub City, 8 E. Main Street, is a popular sandwich and salad destination, with the eatery oftentimes most busy with its weekday lunch rush. A little over a year ago, Brian Ferneau, a long-time Sub City employee, took over operations of the business from Kevin Angstman, who first opened the place in 1990.

“We aren’t sure what’s happening yet. We still haven’t heard from the insurance people yet,” Ferneau said.

His wife, Jeannie Ferneau, provided additional details to the T-R in a Facebook message: “We do know from our untrained eye that we have some structural damage to our roof, water damage and will need some new windows,” she said. “We are hoping there isn’t anything going on we cannot see, but of course, we won’t know that until a trained professional comes out.”

Brian told followers on Facebook, “Marshalltown! Sub City isn’t going anyway!” in a post made Thursday evening.

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Long-time local caterer Leona McDonough surveyed the damage to her eatery, Your Plate or Mine Eatery and Catering, 220 E. Main Street, with a heavy heart Thursday evening. She had been in Clemons at the time of the tornado and saw it move into Marshalltown. Once she got the all clear, she headed back to town to make sure her family was OK first, then she drove to her eatery, which is operated within the Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Orpheum Theater.

“We just got it up April 1,” she said.

Previously, she had operated Heavenly Breads out of the Marshalltown Mall.

“You can see daylight up there. The roof has moved,” she said of the view from inside the space. “Everybody has said it looks OK from the outside, but they don’t understand the structure.”

The establishment, like the theater, had its front windows blown out. Ceiling tiles collapsed and there is no electricity. All the food in her two refrigerators and three freezers were spoiled, including provisions that were intended for the canceled Marshalltown Art Festival. With no power and wide-spread damage, McDonough said she will fulfill her catering orders out of the Binford House’s kitchen — one of the sites in which she provides food services.

The Orpheum has posted signs on its doors and released messages on its website and through social media stating: “The Orpheum Theater Center sustained significant damage during the July 19 tornado. We will be closed until further notice as we access damages and make arrangements for the needed repairs. All scheduled events and activities are canceled until the facility is deemed accessible and safe to use.”

Bob Untiedt, director of the Orpheum, was not able to be reached by press time.

“If they (the college) choose to rebuild and have a coffee shop, I’ll be here, but I have to have a contingency plan in case that’s not feasible. I’m working on that right now,” McDonough said. “This is me, this is my livelihood. To fail is not an option. Your Plate is Mine is going nowhere. We’re available for orders and catering. We just don’t have a retail spot at this moment. You can call me at 641-751-7729.”

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com