New Owners Thankful to Be in Business After Devastating Fire
By Sara Kirkley, Weekend Anchor / Reporter - email
Grand Island, NE -
Fire demolished most of a Grand Island building Sunday.
Of the four businesses at Third and Elm Streets, three are now gone.
The owners of the lone survivor had just bought the business on Friday.
Now they plan to reopen after only a day of being closed and hope to push forward with their plans to update what's left of the building's historic facade.
Brian Bohrer can't believe his business is still standing with what he estimates as less than $5,000 worth of damage.
"I went from shock to awe to acceptance and then back out of that again,” said the co-owner of Edward’s Electronics. “It's just unreal that we're even here standing today with the business."
That’s not the case for Ron's Transmission, which had been there since the 1970's.
Monday, owner Wendy Alexander was on scene meeting with insurance adjusters and fire investigators.
She told NTV News that she plans to release a statement on her plans in the coming days.
"We hope that they can rebuild and keep going. I mean, they're great people and our hearts go out to them. We feel terrible," said Bohrer.
It's another hit to the businesses in this area, according to Grand Island's Chamber of Commerce president.
"The downtown will be in a holding pattern waiting to see what happens and downtown has faced some challenges this year with street closings because of lighting and other projects, street repaving projects," said Cindy Johnson.
But, a day after the fire, traffic was flowing past those businesses.
"Having something like this drawing some attention today, we just hope that it remains and people see and stay interested," said Bohrer.
Johnson hopes so too. She said many times customers will eventually choose convenience over loyalty, which could hurt a business looking to rebuild.
"Any time a downtown area loses a thriving business or business with a long history, an established clientele, that's detrimental to the downtown," she said.
Johnson said the Chamber of Commerce has reached out to some of the businesses impacted and has offered Ron's Transmission temporary office space.
She said she has no doubt the downtown will survive this. Johnson said the area has stepped up new store recruitment recently and is on its way to thriving once again.