Weis Markets on April 22 reopened a store in Gap, Pa., that had been closed for nearly 17 months after it was badly damaged in a three-alarm fire in November 2019.
The rebuilt store reestablishes the Sunbury, Pa.-based retailer in the rural Lancaster County community it had operated in for 25 years, and brings with it new features such as a meal solution center, new decor and exterior, increased variety in the natural and organic sections, a larger pharmacy with a separate consulting room, and Weis 2 Go Online ordering with curbside pickup.
All checkout lanes at the new store are either self-checkout or dual use, meaning they can be manned by cashiers during busy times and turned back self-checkout lanes at other times, the retailer said.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze that broke out at around 1 a.m. Nov. 24, 2019, although arson was not suspected. The store was closed at the time. No one was injured, but 19 area fire departments responded through an icy rain overnight (see photos below).
The store had completed an interior renovation only months before.
“We’re delighted to announce that our Gap store is open again, and we are back to serving our community,” said Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets’ chairman and CEO. “It took a lot of hard work to reopen this store after the fire last November. We’re extremely grateful to the 19 fire companies who supported us when the fire broke out, and the store team and the local community who helped Weis Markets return to Gap.”
The 46,500-square-foot store, located on Lincoln Highway in Gap, employs more than 110 full- and part-time associates, many of whom worked in the store prior to the fire. Weis had offered workers positions in other area locations while the store was being rebuilt.
Gap is a small community amid what’s often referred to as Pennsylvania’s “Amish Country.” The store includes parking for horse-drawn carriages.
Area residents had few local options to shop while the store was shut down. The company, however, quickly established a temporary pharmacy business out of an adjacent storefront that was not affected by the fire. That site has delivered more than 1,300 COVID immunizations, a Weis spokesman told WGB.
The store’s sustainability features include:
- Energy efficient LED lighting in the store’s sales area, refrigerated cases, backroom, prep areas, walk-in coolers, freezers and parking lot.
- Glycol secondary refrigeration combined with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant to increase energy efficiency and reduce refrigerant use.
- Enrollment in the Organix Recycling LLC food diversion program, in which the waste from food prep is repurposed for cattle feed.
- Cardboard and plastic recycling.
- High-efficiency water fixtures.
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