After thorough post-fire cleaning, vendors are back at work.
Click here for more pictures of the reopened West Side Market!
(Cleveland) - The West Side Market has reopened! It's taken almost three week to cleanup fire damage and complete health inspections.
Vendors were told to make sure all food contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, wall and floors scrubbed, and food stored in the basement is thrown away. Basement walk-in areas were also ordered to be sanitized.
Vendors including Minnie Varefoss of Jim's Meats says they lost thousands of dollars by not being open and it was very stressful for their family. They are hoping for strong sales this month to make up for the loss.
Emma Beno of the Pokchop Shop is taking a positive spin on the fire. Beno says it gave everyone a chance to get floors and sinks redone, things that you don't have time to do when you're running a business. She appreciates all of the support from the community from the fundraisers.
Vendors and shoppers need to bundle up as there is no heat in the building and vendors are no longer allowed to use space heaters because of the fire. It was a chilly reopening but shoppers were excited to get inside. Many brought coolers and shopping bags to stock up on goodies and told us they missed getting items you can't find in a typical supermarket like frog legs and alligator.
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the January 30th blaze, but it's believed to have been electrical in nature. They claim the building is structurally sound. Clean up and restoration cost about $276,000.
Vince Bertonaschi, president of the West Side Market Tenants Association tells Newsradio WTAM 1100 that he expects business to return to normal with Monday's opening.
He adds, the pace of restoration seemed to be slow, but he understands because food safety is involved.
Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman talks with our Colleen O'Neill:
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