EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – East Palestine is made up of small businesses, many of which are owned by people who live in or near the village. On Tuesday, reporter/anchor Stan Boney sat down with five of them to discuss the last two weeks and the next 20 years.

Boney talked to a couple who owns a greenhouse and hot dog shop, an insurance company owner, a man who started an escape room and a woman who sells rubber bracelets.

They sat around a table in a downtown East Palestine business and talked about things like their reactions to the controlled release that sent a plum of dark, black smoke high into the sky.

“I was absolutely mortified,” said Kerri Stewart, who runs an insurance agency downtown.

“It was pretty rough watching,” said Diana Elzer.

“This was better than what the other options were. It was devastating,” said Don Elzer.

Don and his wife Diana own a hot dog shop and ice cream store downtown, along with a greenhouse 3 miles away.

“So it’s been crazy. We’re not sure what spring’s going to be. We’re already getting feedback from people that they’re not coming there for fear of what’s happening,” Don said.

“No, not dig a hole and blow it up with some robots,” said Nathan Foster, who runs Village Escapes.

Foster lost faith in Norfolk Southern after an EPA report that the railroad laid new tracks over contaminated soil.

“And where the train actually wrecked and you blew it up, did you clean there? Did you clean there? No, you piled over and ready to go and profit instead of the safety of our town,” Foster said.

Maggie Guglielmo runs Flags & Specialties, in a plaza a half mile from ground zero, with a culvert of Sulfur Run underneath. She estimates the damage at $250,000 and has received nothing from Norfolk Southern. Guglielmo wants to move because she says the gases from the culvert are in the building.

“Has gotten into the drywall, it’s gotten into the drop ceilings, it’s gotten into the carpet and the floors, as well as my inventory,” Guglielmo said.

“It doesn’t seem it’s transparent,” Stewart said.

Stewart wants to know the long-term effects of the chemicals on their health. She says the companies that make the chemicals have to know.

“I don’t know if it’s that they wouldn’t want to scare people, which everybody is already scared out of their wits. I just don’t understand their reasoning,” Stewart said.

They all were concerned about the future and the stigma that will hang over East Palestine for a long time.

“We need a tremendous marketing campaign. The village is looking for a new village manager. That person has to be somebody who’s on top of marketing, who understands business, who understands how to get us out of this,” Don said.

Everyone also had high praise for the mayor, fire chief and everyone who responded in the days after the derailment. They knew that they did not ask for or were they prepared for something like this, but they had nothing bad to say about their response.