M&R Liquors in Manchester recovers from devastating fire, re-opening Thursday

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MANCHESTER -- The shelves are stocked and the business is back just in time for the holidays at M&R Liquors in Manchester.

“We opened up last Friday and just opened the doors.  You know the saying, “If you build it, they will come,” and they came,” said Gary Rounseville, who co-owns M&R Liquors.

THe old M&R Liquor building in 2012 courtesy Google Street View

The liquor store had been closed since April after a devastating fire ripped through the building on Tolland Turnpike.  An employee had noticed smoke around 4 a.m. and in hours, the fire, fueled by the bottles of alcohol inside, destroyed the building.   Back then, employees looked on in disbelief.

“I've worked with these guys for a long time.  As I said, it's just surreal right now hard to believe it's even happening,” said Patti Paul, when we spoke to her back in April.

But M&R made the promise to rebuild and fulfilled that promise in just months.

“We were kind of surprised how quickly everything happened.  We opened within eight months of the fire and that was pretty impressive,” said Neal Rounseville, another owner.

Now, the Manchester location is once again serving the customers, who they say remained loyal even during a difficult time.

“We did not let any of the employees go during the time, so we moved a lot of our managers and employees over to the South Windsor or Glastonbury store, and they recognized customers coming in and there was a continued dialogue about when are you going to open,” said Gary Rounseville.

On Thursday, M&R Liquors will have a grand re-opening at the store.  Geno Auriemma will be there from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to sign bottles of his wine.