The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
Earlier this year, we told you the amazing story of a Nashville couple who'd suffered a really, really bad year in 2020. We recently checked back in with the hapless couple and found their outlook - sunny.
We found Geff and Sandy Lee at their brand new store near downtown Nashville, right next to a tourist trolley stop ensuring lots of customers.
Sandy Lee: I was just exhausted and I thought, "Do we really want to do this? Do we want to start over with everything?"
When we first met the Lees last year. They walked us the closest we could get to what used to be their side by side shops. The stores blown up on Christmas Day 2020, along with dozens of other businesses in what the FBI says was a suicide bombing.
At the time, they told us the explosion was the final straw in a string of 2020 disasters.
Geff Lee (January 2021): The year started out with tornadoes and that just devastated, not only the downtown, but many of the suburbs. And then right, almost after that COVID hit and we were closed down for six weeks. And then after the six weeks, of course, then it was the honky-tonks, and restaurants could be open for this time, to this time, this capacity, to that capacity, and no live music. And then the George Floyd riots happened, what month was that?
Sandy Lee: In the summer.
Geff Lee: Summertime. A couple of weeks later, we had a brick thrown through our windows and I put bars up and you know, it's just been one thing after another. And then it really culminated on Christmas day when everything went up in smoke. Big bang.
A year later, we found that the blown-up storefronts are still shut down. But the Lees say they navigated insurance claims, took what money they could get, and found a way to reopen in another spot, combining their two stores under one new brand.
Geff Lee: It's something that we may not need, but we want. And we want to show the customers and the guests that come in, hey, this is what Nashville's about. We offer a great deal, a fun environment. But even at a new location their challenges aren’t over.
Sandy Lee: So much work. And my biggest fear was finding people to work. I knew that he would build something great. I knew I could fill it. I knew the space was going to be good. But who's going to work? We didn't have all of our employees coming back. Some had retired. Some had moved. And no one wants to work retail. It's a struggle right now that we're having, is Geff and I are finding ourselves in the store a lot.
Two precious items that survived the Christmas Day blast which they showed us when we first met them.
Geff Lee (January 2021): And it was found on a fragment of wall that was still standing, which is, how does that even happen?
Their daughter’s charcoal drawing of Johnny Cash and an American flag hung in the store since it opened in 2011. First responders found it in the rubble and returned it folded in a special display case.
Both items now have a new home in their new store now called: Nashville’s Best 10 Dollar and Up Boutique.
Geff Lee: Yeah, yeah. I mean, there was items that were bizarrely able to survive the blast. I mean, the picture of Johnny Cash that my daughter did 12 years ago survived. It greeted customers in the $10 store for 11 years. And, and so he was the first thing we hung. It was just an important part of family history, as well as the history of the store.
And there’s one more feature in the new store that tells their story of perseverance and survival.
Geff: Lee: Throughout the store, there's fragments that I was able to go in and get under the direction of the people that were running the recovery effort. And that was part of our story. It was my goal to get as much fragments and pieces of our store so that we could display it and tell the story. Was it a bad year? Yeah. I mean, we never saw COVID coming. We certainly never saw a Christmas Day bombing coming. But it's all a part of life, and you can either have it consume you or you can move on. For us, it's like from a bad day came a great opportunity. And this is the opportunity.
Sharyl (on-camera): We wish them good luck or at least the continued ability to make lemonade out of lemons.