MALVERN, Iowa (KMTV) — Downtown Malvern is decorated for the holidays, complete with Christmas music blaring on loudspeakers. But instead of celebrating the season, they’re left cleaning up a mess after the town grocery blew over and collapsed after the windstorm Wednesday.
It started with a fire Monday night that gutted Mulholland’s Grocery, then Wednesday night during the wind storm, it collapsed onto the streets of downtown Malvern.
But Mayor Fred Moreau, who also owns a pizza joint and bakery next door to Mulholland’s, remains optimistic.
“This town is not going to quit, okay. This is Malvern, Iowa and we’re not done,” said Moreau.
Owner of the Mulholland’s Grocery Tom Mulholland, told 3 News Now that he’s not ready to retire, worries what may happen if the town loses a grocery store, but is unsure what he’ll do next.
Moreau knows residents in town are everything ranging from inconvenienced to hurting from the loss.
“I think they’re finding out exactly how much Mulholland’s means to them, they’ve always been fond of the place when it’s not there you realize you got to go get that Coke or you got to go get that lettuce, it’s not as easy as it used to be,” said Moreau.
Moreau is making no promises but says efforts are already being made to put up a temporary grocery store so that residents can get the essentials.
“We’re looking at 3 to 4 locations in town where you can have an area that you can pick up their groceries or whatever they need to do,” said Moreau.
The rubble blocking the main street in Malvern will stay for some time for inspectors and training purposes.
One business on that block, Kohll's Pharmacy, remains open. The quality of the buildings affected by the fire were also inspected, as Mills County Emergency Manager Larry Hurst says the city wants to make sure it’s safe to stay in.
“I would say if the water was deep and the foundation was old, I think they ought to be looked at,” said Hurst.
When asked about all this coming less than two weeks before Christmas, Moreau considers it a small blessing in disguise.
“This should not change people’s outlook on Christmas, it should be a sign of hope that we can rebuild,” said Moreau.
Malvern Bank is accepting charitable donations to the cause. An employee said the town is looking to donate to employees of the restaurant, to the town of Malvern as a whole and to the grocery store owner Tom Mulholland. They are busy in the process of trying to organize the accounts.
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