MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Brooklyn Park grocery store is back open after months of rebuilding after a fire.

Police say a 16-year-old started a fire in one of the aisles at Festival Foods back in July, causing 50 people inside the store to run for their lives and more than $100,000 in damage. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Ever since then, loyal customers have been missing more than just a place to buy food.

There’s something familiar at Festival Foods in Brooklyn Park. The grand reopening Thursday felt like a family reunion.

“Festival is open! I’m going to buy something, I don’t even know what I want — so I got ice cream,” Festival customer Jerry Steele said.

“We’re a Minnesota company, family-owned,” Festival Foods vice president Jason Herfel said. “When you’re in a community for 20 years, you’re a part of the fabric of that community. You don’t even know it until something like that happens.”

What happened was a fire on July 16. What happened after is the part Herfel chooses to focus on.

“People were bringing gift cards for gifts, bringing in coffee, bringing our employees treats,” Herfel said.

Once the smoke damage was fixed, volunteers from the community even came to help stock the shelves so their beloved grocery store could open faster.

“We are so thankful to the community,” Herfel said. “Some of the volunteers who came out to actually restock were firefighters that helped put out the fire. So, talk about coming full circle.”

Now with a fresh new look… long-time customers like Jan Hamm are falling back into their routines…

“Oh God, I had to find six different stores to get stuff I can get here,” she said.

During the rebuilding process Festival Foods says they paid all 80 employees from the store so they wouldn’t miss a paycheck as result of the fire. Brooklyn Park Police say the 16-year-old they believe set the fire has been charged with arson.


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