Rebuilding again in Smithville

SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- “It’s really devastating,” said Smithville resident Kimberly Johnson.

This loss was not planned.

Around 7 p.m. Monday, Smithville’s only grocery store caught fire, leaving the city’s people devastated.

“I’m very upset about it and everyone in town is very upset about it,” said Mayor Earl Wayne Cowley. “As soon as I heard about it being on fire I came on down and everybody here was very concerned. It’s still concerning us all. I talked with the owner this morning and he still very upset about it.”

The emotions aren’t just coming from the fire, but the work it took to finally bring a grocery store back to Smithville after a tornado in 2011.

“They worked really hard to get that business up and going for the citizens of Smithville,” said Kimberly Johnson. “And we hate that they lost so much. We’ve lost too. We hate it for everybody.”

The grocery store opened in April, and since then over 1,000 additional tax dollars have been brought to the small town.

So when Johnson said the loss impacted everyone, it actually did.

“It’s going to hurt us bad,” said Earl Wayne Cowley. “I mean on our sales taxes. Plus having a place for people to shop it’s just very bad for us.”

“We do feel like we’re down again,” said Johnson. “And so we have to work again to find out whether or not they’re going to rebuild and if not we’ve got to get another grocery store in here so that we will have the things that we need.”

The needs of Smithville were always a priority for the owners.

They started to bring in ground beef and fresh produce for residents so that they wouldn’t have to leave town.

But now the focus is no longer on people who live in Smithville, it’s on the family who lost their new business.

“I just hate it for them,” said Johnson. “They’re a great family. They don’t actually live in Smithville but had plans to move here and I just hate it for them. I know it’s a great loss for them because they put a lot of hard work into it.”

“I’m just hoping that they are able to overcome it on their selves and be able to come back for us,” said Cowley.

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