Nearly three years after a fire destroyed the only grocery store in the village of Apsley, Ont., a reopening is expected this fall.
The massive overnight blaze on Dec. 5, 2020, levelled Sayers Foods, the main grocery outlet in the popular cottage country village about 60 kilometres north of Peterborough.
A rebuild began at the end of the summer of 2021 and owner Jeff Sayers said he expects a “late fall” reopening.
“We don’t have a date in line yet,” he told Global News on Monday. “We are looking at late fall. As soon as we can get this thing open, we are going to get it open.”
The loss of the village’s only grocery store caused stress and strain on many residents in the village of 2,500, said Carolyn Amyotte, mayor of North Kawartha Township. The next nearest store is about 40 minutes away, either north or south, which was a challenge for those without transportation.
“To have our grocery store get sidelined by a fire really hit us hard,” Amymotte said. “And we have all had to adapt.”
Area cottager Sandy Kilgour says while there is a general store nearby, it doesn’t have all the necessities that Sayers Foods provided.
“I have come here a couple of times and there is no milk,” he said. “I just came from the store and there is no Kleenex, so there are certain necessities that you require and they are just not available here locally.”
Sayers said his family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of the fire, providing reassurance during some challenges in the rebuilding process.
“Definitely the last few years have been a rollercoaster of emotions and problems to solve — no shortage of those,” he said. “So we have worked through those, and we are not quite in the clear yet, but it feels good to be as far as we are at least.”
The new store is being rebuilt at the same location on Burleigh Street in the heart of the village.
“It feels a lot better to be able to walk around and see a lot of the finished product, even though there is a little bit more to go,” Sayers said. “You can really see the building taking shape inside and get a feel for what it’s going to be like and it’s going to be great.”
Amyotte said she’s “super excited” about the reopening of the store.
“I’m telling everyone when it is going to be open,” she said as she crossed her fingers. “I’m asking Santa just for one really big Christmas gift this year. So I am hoping it’s coming true. But yes, pretty excited for our whole town. This is really important.”
— with files from Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough
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