Matheson officially opened its new facility in Joplin, Missouri, on June 6. The new building replaces the structure lost in a devastating tornado last year.

Matheson has supplied compressed gases, welding equipment, and related items from its facility on South Davis Boulevard, in Joplin, since 2002.

On Sunday May 22nd, 2011, a tornado estimated to be 1.5 miles wide cut a swath through that part of the city.

The store was “a total loss, except for our liquid vessels,” according to Jeff Lackore, Matheson Area Retail Manager. The site includes liquid storage for oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and argon.

Remarkably, apart from the Monday after the storm when most of Joplin was closed under a state of emergency, Matheson never needed to close the Joplin business, not even temporarily.

Matheson’s other locations in the region supplied product to customers and lent delivery trucks to the Joplin operation. The debris was cleaned up, and a fence was erected to secure the site.

Local operations were restored quickly; initially from the remaining concrete slab, and later from inside a 98 foot tent.

Matheson, just like many business operations in Joplin, quickly committed to an ambitious rebuilding plan. The new Joplin store opened just two weeks after the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado.

Matheson’s South Central Zone Vice President, Daniel Lambert, cut the ribbon to officially open the new store and commented, “The fact that we have a brand new structure up and operating in a year’s time is a tribute not only to the Matheson team in the region, but to all the hard-working people of Joplin. The recovery of this city is amazing.”

The new store includes a state-of-the-art retail front end, with 1,400 square feet of sales display and demo space.

“That is almost double what we had before, with a better layout. It’s been a pleasure to set up, and we expect that customers will find the new front end easy to navigate, with shelf stock easy to find.”

says Jeff Lackore.

Jeff Lackore noted, “Fortunately, no one from Matheson was injured in the May 2011 tornado, and as Joplin is a home town community, everyone here knows somebody whose life changed that day. Today, we are celebrating the opening of a new store. However, we’ll never forget those for whom this time of year will forever have tragic memories.”