New information Monday night about a fire that destroyed a Sioux Falls natural foods store.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue thinks the fire, Sunday morning, at the Co-Op Natural Foods was arson. It's located on the corner of 33rd Street and Duluth Avenue.
As you can imagine, this has been a devastating 24 hours for the store's general manager and fellow owners and customers.
It is community-owned with 2,500 members who own stock and roughly the same amount of people who are considered regular customers.
For the Co-Op Natural Foods General Manager Molly Langley, the reality of the weekend fire is just setting in. It's especially hard, not just because she lost almost everything inside, but because someone did it in purpose.
"You feel terrible heartbreak. The store was so clean and tidy the last time I saw it. The devastation of a fire and then you discover it was on purpose. It's very, very hard to take," General Manager Molly Langley said.
The Co-Op has been in business since the 1970s but at the 33rd Street/Duluth Avenue location since 2005. Never once did Langley think this would actually happen.
"You take every precaution you can but for people that have had this kind of loss, it's very very sudden and painful. Nobody is ready for any loss like this, I don't think," Langley said.
This news is not sitting well with customers, either. Peg Bhatara is one of them.
"Very hard to believe. I can't imagine anyone wanting to do something like that. I have no idea why someone would do something like that. I'm very worried about this," Peg Bhatara said.
But it's customers, like Peg, together with a supportive community that will ultimately keep the Co-Op alive.
"This business model is an idea and it's a good idea, a workable and winnable business model. You can't destroy an idea. So we will rebuild and be better. but you cant ignore the heartache and the hard work that went in to make this building what it is and not feel pain," Langley said.
More than $100,000 in food inventory will be lost, as a result of the fire. Co-Op board members will meet, Tuesday, to discuss the re-building plan.
Langley is making it a priority to keep people informed via the newsletter, the website and social media.
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