Page 36 - Southington Magazine Issue 46 Autumn 2021
P. 36

 pact of COVID. “We realized that we were in trouble when people we had hired three months earlier, started to resign due to CO- VID concerns. We didn’t have enough staff and had to open with abbreviated hours.” said Salerno.
Re-opening just as the state was closing down meant working around the clock for the first few months to keep the store stocked. Without product, they couldn’t generate rev- enue which they needed in order to pay for the rebuild. They developed relationships with new suppliers for those hard-to- find items that were vanishing from store shelves everywhere. “We were proud that we never ran out of toilet paper, even if it meant multiple trips to Russell Hall, which typically supplies restaurants, to load up on as many cases as we could fit into our vehicles.” said Salerno. “For the first time in our history, we didn’t lack for customers - we lacked for product to sell.” said Tooker.
In all, a little over $20,000 was raised in donations through the Rebuild Fund which have been returned to the community in the form of food donations, prepared meals, Betsy’s gift baskets for charity auctions, catering, sponsorships, and cash donations. A complete list of the individuals, organizations, and companies that donated to the rebuild efforts is still proudly displayed at the entrance of the store.
Today, Salerno and Tooker feel blessed. “After the fire, we could never have imagined standing here today celebrating our 70th anniversary. The community really rallied around us. How could we not rebuild? We are incredibly grateful.”
Southington Magazine — Autumn 2021

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