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Important meeting for owner of burned out Southington store

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SOUTHINGTON - Tops Marketplace, which burned to the ground last Sunday night, might be rebuilt.

Next week will be a fork in the road for the owners as an important meeting is scheduled with all the key players that would be involved in the rebuilding.

"The architect, the site planner, the people from Bozzuto’s that plan out the stores and even the construction person," said Tops owner, John Salerno.

As for insurance reimbursement, he remains hopeful.

"They tell me that we probably have enough (insurance money) to rebuild, but we probably don’t have enough to put anything in it," Salerno said Friday.

Community members have said all week they would like to make contributions.

"We thought about it and said 'let’s set up something on our own' that if people would want to give that we would separate that money and as soon as were open with give it back to the community," Salerno said.

He said the store would make charitable donations with any contributions. The public is encouraged to keep watching the Tops Marketplace Facebook page for details on the GoFundMe account.

"We certainly didn’t want them to be going and putting it (money) in a fund that was not set up by us," said Salerno's business partner, Betsy Tooker.

Even a competitor is hoping to help.

"We at Stop & Shop want to welcome everyone into our family from theirs," said Mark Gerson, the Store Manager for the Southington Stop & Shop.

That would include Tops employees.

"If employment is needed or people are looking for jobs, as store manager, I have asked that everybody come to me." Gerson said.

And, Tops owners appreciate this, sort of.

"It kind of gets me here," Salerno said using a motion of a stake driving into his heart.

Salerno says their insurance coverage may provide some employees temporary income.

"We have been to the Aqua Turf now," he says. "We’ve asked them to consider a chef and some key some key employees that worked with us in that area of the business."

The Southington Fire Marshal determined the fire started in a pizza oven,, but it still has not been determined why.

Salerno says they lost an estimated $500,000 dollars in product alone.


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