As we approach the fifth anniversary of April 27, 2011, we look back at that day and towards our future with our special video series, "Five Years Later."


April 27, 2011.

5:13 p.m.

In less than six minutes, Tuscaloosa changed forever. 52 lives were lost. 12% of the city was destroyed. 1,257 homes were destroyed and over 4,000 others were damaged. Over 7,000 people became unemployed after losing their businesses or jobs.

One iconic Tuscaloosa business destroyed that day was Krispy Kreme. The store was located off McFarland Boulevard, near the intersection with 15th Street--an area that was all but decimated in the tornado.

I spoke with Krispy Kreme Tuscaloosa Owner Evan Smith about his memories of that fateful day and the challenges the Krispy Kreme crew faced on their road to recovery.

The store was destroyed by the tornado, but Krispy Kreme employees only experienced minor injuries. Many employees rode out the storm in Smith's private office. Smith and the Krispy Kreme team met the challenges presented by April 27th with unimaginable fortitude--in about 30 days, the property had been cleared off and prepped for rebuilding.

Anyone in Tuscaloosa can tell you that the day Krispy Kreme came back was a landmark in our recovery. When the store opened its doors on August 21, 2012, T-Town started to feel a little more like home again. People from Tuscaloosa and all over West Alabama flocked to the store on that sweet day--lines to get into the parking lot were over a quarter-mile long, and between 8,000 and 10,000 doughnuts were sold that day.