Popular Southington Grocery Store to Rebuild After Fire

Tops Marketplace in Southington announced Monday they plan to reopen in February after a devastating fire destroyed the building in March.

The store, located in the Plantsville section of town on the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, was known for carrying locally made products and doing business with local companies. Tops was also deeply involved in the community, offering donations to local non-profits and working with local sports teams on fundraisers throughout the years.

While no one was hurt, many in the community were shocked by the damage when it went up in flames on March 3. There was hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, leaving the owners with a tough decision on how to move forward.

In a Facebook post Monday, the owners officially announced plans to reopen.

“We're beyond excited to announce: we are rebuilding! We anticipate opening in February 2020! Stay tuned for updates as they develop - we're happy to share news as it unfolds,” the post read.

While the town is still waiting for paperwork, Tops Marketplace business partners John Salerno and Betsy Tooker say if all goes well we could see construction in a month.

Salerno told NBC Connecticut the decision was difficult, but instead of cashing in on the insurance payout and starting retirement, he and his business partners decided it was important to rebuild.

“I’m old and it would have been easy to just collect the insurance money but my heart just wouldn’t let me do that. This is too important," he said.

The community has rallied behind the store, and Salerno said the rebuild wouldn't happen without that support.

Their decision to rebuild is part community, part personal. “We don’t want to pass away and have the thing be empty,” said Tooker.

The store will look the same on the outside, but the owners plan to upgrade the inside. In total, the project is expected to cost $3.5 million. The owners said they're still about $500,000 short and seeking additional financing.

Those wishing to contribute to the rebuild can donate to the Tops Marketplace Community Rebuild Fund.

“We certainly want to thank people for their support. I don’t think it would have been done. If we didn’t get so much support from the community,” said Salerno.

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