Over a year after it was nearly destroyed by a devastating fire, an iconic South Jersey landmark had a grand reopening on Saturday.
The Columbus Farmers Market in Columbus, Burlington County is now fully rebuilt. A special event with live music and family activities was held Saturday to celebrate its reopening.
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On November 18, 2014, the self-proclaimed “oldest and largest flea market” in the Philadelphia region went up in flames along Route 206 near Columbus Jobstown Road, sending thick smoke into the air. No one was injured during the four-alarm blaze and the market wasn’t open at the time.
It took fire crews nearly two hours to bring it under control. By the time the smoke cleared, the market’s Building 4, which housed retail stores and a food court, was completely destroyed.
“It was a living nightmare,” said Marci Strauss, owner of Wicker Emporium, one of 11 stores destroyed by the fire. “Not knowing how we were going to pay our bills or what was going to happen with insurance and just fighting to survive every day. We were out for ten months and it was hard. But our customers were very supportive and we’re so happy to be back.”
During an 18-month period, the Farmers Market was rebuilt and remodeled. It now has over 65 retail stores and thousands of outdoor flea market items.