COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — The Collierville Kroger store reopened Wednesday, nearly seven weeks after a man opened fire, killing one shopper and injuring several others.
For the first in time in weeks, the Collierville Kroger parking lot was full of customers Wednesday. Town officials said the store’s reopening is not only a sign of hope, but a reminder that they are Collierville Strong.”
“It’s part of the healing process as I said earlier. It’s something you can’t escape. You’ve got to go through it,” Mayor Stan Joyer said.
The store had been closed since September 23rd when a gunman opened fire injuring 14 and killing shopper Olivia King.
“A lot of times these incidents are meant to drive fear and separation, division in the community, and what I’m so proud of is this community has rallied around each other,” Collierville police chief Dale Lane said.
There were tears of joy as employees walked back into the store for the first time since the tragedy. Instead of a ribbon cutting, there was a ribbon tying to signify how Kroger and the community are now tied together.
Victor Smith, President of the Kroger Delta Division said many of the employees who were at work that day and even a few that were injured returned today.
“Until the associates said they were ready, we were not going to open up the building,” Smith said.
Employees weren’t the only ones excited to get back inside.
“It’s my Kroger. I call it my Kroger because I’m in here two or three times a week. I know where everything is, at least I used to know where everything is,” shopper Veronica Barnes said, “I’m just happy that it’s open and I pray that nothing ever happens again like this.”
Kroger representatives said the store has been remodeled as a way to make customers and employees comfortable when they walk in.
Outside the store, a remembrance garden is set up to honor King and everyone hurt in the tragedy.
Kroger officials said the store will be open seven days a week from seven am to 11 pm.