1 year after fire, Columbus Farmers Market ready for holidays

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (WPVI) -- It was just over one year ago since a fast-moving fire tore through part of a popular Burlington County market.

Building 4 of the Columbus Farmers Market went up in flames on the night of Nov. 18, 2014, destroying 11 businesses.

Since then, it's been a monumental task to get everything up and running again.



"This is remarkable. I come here and I was like 'Oh my God,' it's completely different, but still quaint," said Donna Hughes of New Egypt, New Jersey.

Hughes was one of the shoppers browsing through the new Building 4 at the market in Springfield.

Last year's wind-whipped fire tore through this well-known local landmark, leaving only twisted metal and beams.

One of the 11 businesses burned out was Wicker Emporium, which has been located at the market for 37 years and only recently reopened.

"It was the worst year of my life, but the nightmare is over, and the store looks beautiful, and the markets looking beautiful, and we're so excited to be back," said Marci Strauss of Wicker Emporium.

The new Building 4 allows shoppers to walk from one end of the market to the other without going outside.

Anna's Corner Cafe opened Thursday and, behind plastic, four more restaurants are still being completed at a new food court.

"We have people coming in and they're saying 'Oh it's beautiful down here!' They're excited about it and they're ready to come back to the market," said Sharon Haines of Anna's Corner Cafe.

Attendance suffered after the fire. Merchants are hoping the old crowds come back as they gear up for the holidays.

The market is open on Thanksgiving. In fact, it's one of the busiest days of the year here. Managers say lots of folks put the turkey in the oven then come to do a little early Christmas shopping.
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