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Open Old Market businesses want customers back

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 12:44:00-05

The warmer temperatures helped melt some of the ice that coats the burned out building that housed M's Pub before Saturday's explosion and fire.

Thursday night, dozens of workers remained out of a job and other residents still can't go home.

Business owners in the Old Market are pleading for customers to return.

In the days since the fire, the outpouring of support for this place has been nothing short of amazing, but there's a long recovery ahead.

Business owners say the best thing you can do is keep coming.

The damaged building on the corner, which is the center and the heart of the Old Market, might be torn apart by fire.

But the people who make this place so special are still here.

“At the end of the day, it's a community, and the more the merrier!” said Emma Headley, with McLovin.

The lights are on inside McLovin, one of the final undamaged businesses to reopen after Saturday's blast. The store's four employees were at a meeting Thursday night, thankful they have jobs to come back to.

“To just be back in the store and be in the area. It's a little bittersweet though. Because our hearts do go out to the employees that lost their jobs at locations that have been there for so many years,” said Kelsey Kowalski, the store manager.

The store was not damaged, but business was. It operates a block away from the second building hit by the fire.

“It is a unique time to view the rebuilding time when a tragedy has struck,” Seth McMillian, with the Old Market Business Association.

He lives in the damaged building, owns McLovin and sits on the Old market's business association.
The good news is people are walking around tonight-they have been coming all week.

“Even I thought it was more closed than it was. Once you get down here there's not as much closed,” said Cindy Bohac, with Cupcake Omaha.

Bohac says that's what people need to know. Many of her customers have been down this past week. That means business is good.

At McLovin, on day one - They are optimistic, too, because sales are strong.

The two full-time and two part-time workers at McLovin won't lose any pay because the store's insurance is kicking in.

That's not the case for many other workers because most of the closed businesses are destroyed and won't be reopening for quite some time.