Last updated on August 29th, 2022 at 01:57 pm
Tops Marketplace, an IGA grocery store in Southington, Connecticut, suffered a devastating fire on March 3. Fire officials have declared the store a total loss. There were no injuries reported.
According to the store’s Facebook page, a Tops Marketplace Community Rebuild Fund has been organized by Tops Marketplace. The fund can be accessed at GoFundMe.com along with a heartfelt letter to the Southington community from John Salerno and Betsy Tooker, store owners.
Nathan Price, employee, told Connecticut Eyewitness News Channel 3, that he noticed the fire around 7:30 p.m. He attempted to extinguish the fire, but he decided he needed to get out of the store. After getting on the store intercom to urge everyone to evacuate the building, Price and other employees exited the building safely but found the rear of the building completely on fire. Around 9:30 p.m., fire officials reported the roof collapsed.
Salerno told Channel 3, “We thought it was in the machine room where all the compressors are but the fire department told me this morning it was actually inside the building, inside the wall,” he said.
Tops employees are without jobs, but Southington businesses are helping those employees who are now looking for work. Businesses and other grocery stores are welcoming former Tops employees to apply.
In the letter on the Gofundme.com page, Salerno and Tooker expressed their appreciation of the support the community has shown following the fire, writing, “After 68 years of being in business, it’s so hard to think about starting from scratch. Your support and encouragement is deeply appreciated and is providing us with the energy and drive to rebuild despite still mourning our loss.”
Salerno and Tooker added, “Once we have rebuilt our business, we will take great pride in donating these funds back to the community in the form of food donations, Betsy’s gift baskets for charity auctions, catering non-profit events through Carmela Marie, sponsorships, food pantry donations and more.”
If the store is not successful in achieving a positive outcome, all funds that were contributed to the rebuild fund will be donated to non-profit organizations that support the community.