‘We can’t wait’ — Ken’s Fruit Market set to reopen after being destroyed by fire

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A Grand Rapids grocery store nearly destroyed after a fire is set to reopen next week.

Ken's Fruit Market on Plainfield Avenue was badly damaged after an arson back in September. No arrests have been made, but the manager says they're not dwelling on the past and instead are looking to the future.

The fire started outside in some straw bales and spread to an overhanging awning. It was contained to the outside of the store, but Ken's Fruit Market and the Big Lots and Africa's Child thrift store next door all suffered smoke and water damage. After seven long months, the staff at Ken's says they're excited to reopen their doors.

"We had a fire outside and we had a lot of smoke damage, so basically that led to a total loss inside," said manager Alex Courts. "We had to tear down and start from scratch almost."

The fire was contained to outside, but smoke and water virtually destroyed the inside.

"A lot of areas where they sprayed water and most of everything was still intact, but we had a lot of soot damage from all the smoke that came in and left sediment," said Courts."

After gutting the place and cleaning it, they started over. They added new floors, new walls and made some changes to the layout.

"It's about 50 percent of what it used to be," said Courts. "We were able to redesign a little bit and maximize our floor space a little bit better. We have some minor changes, but the basic setup is just like it always has been."

The store's manager, Alex Courts, gave FOX 17 a tour of the new Ken's Fruit Market ahead of their opening on April 13. Courts says they're excited for the new chapter ahead of them.

"We're just hoping to come back better," said Courts. "The store looks better. We're able to start from scratch so everything is brand new. We're just taking a chance to reset and do more of what we've best been know for, which is fresh produce and fresh meat."

The business took a hit after missing the holiday season and they are hoping to make up for it with spring flowers and produce sales. Courts says they were hoping the job would take four months at the most, but after some setbacks they're ready to open their doors once again.

"We've been excited for seven months now," said Courts. "We can't wait."

Ken's Fruit Market is thanking everyone who stood by them and says they're not just looking for shoppers to come back, they're also hiring. If you're interested in applying, visit their website.

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