By: Kevin Carr with WSAW
An iconic grocery is store is moving back to its Third Street location after a fire forced it to relocate nearly two years ago.
Downtown Grocery owners Megan and Kevin Korpela said after their store was heavily damaged from that fire in September 2015, they knew almost right away they had to do all they could to preserve the historic building.
"Just wanted to reassure customers and the community and our staff that we're gonna do all that we can to return to our old home,” Kevin Korpela said.
Fast forward nearly two years, and after significant reconstruction, the building will soon to reopen. The building has plenty of new architecture, with high ceilings, a second level with seating, and huge windows. But whether it’s the original bricks or re-purposed tin ceiling placed on the walls, memories of the old store are preserved.
"It has really the richness, the richness of a very decades-old materials,” Korpela explained.
Longtime customers are excited as the store begins moving its inventory from the Wausau Center Mall to Third Street – but so are surrounding businesses.
“We are thrilled to have them back in their original location,” Wausau Executive Director Elizabeth Brodek said.
Brodek said businesses nearby Downtown Grocery have been aching for it to re-open.
"To have that foot traffic and that flow back and forth between businesses, because those are similar customer bases, and similar demographics between those businesses...to have that flow back is really going to be helpful to the entire 600 Block and all of Downtown Wausau,” Brodek explained.
The Korpelas are looking forward to coming back to the downtown business community they’ve cherished.
"Hopefully the community and our customers will enjoy as much if not more so than our previous home,” Kevin Korpela said.
Kevin Korpela said there’s no set date for when Downtown Grocery will officially open its doors again, but anticipates sometime in late August, pending the progress of the transition.