Village Jewelry to reopen during fire recovery
By Mark Wineka
KANNAPOLIS ó Mike Gibbs, co-owner of Village Jewelry in Cloverleaf Plaza, credits the store’s security system and a quick response from Kannapolis police and fire departments for saving the business early Wednesday morning.
Still, the heavy smoke damage and heat from the fire have forced Village Jewelry to close for a few days and look to reopen temporarily in a vacant store next to the Wing Zone restaurant.
Gibbs said he expects Village Jewelry to be open in the temporary location by next Tuesday or Wednesday.
A silver lining to the fire was that all of the store’s valuables were in a safe and not damaged. And all items being repaired and anything else that belonged to customers is fine, Gibbs reported.
When the satellite store is ready, Village Jewelry again will have telephone lines, credit card machines and showcases, and customers will be able to pick up their repair items, special orders and make layaway payments, Gibbs said.
The biggest concern for Gibbs and co-owner Lou Fennell has been the inconvenience to customers, many of whom probably haven’t heard about the fire.
Meanwhile, the owners think it could be four to six weeks before they can return to their permanent store location at 867 Cloverleaf Plaza.
“We will have to gut our store,” Gibbs said, describing its condition as “very sooty.”
The fire was called in about 12:40 a.m.
“Upon entry we encountered heavy smoke and heat,” Capt. Jerry Morgan of the Kannapolis Fire Department said.
Kannapolis responded with multiple units. Concord, Landis and Odell fire departments assisted, as well as Cabarrus County EMS. China Grove Fire Department, Cold Water Fire Department and Enochville Fire & Rescue provided district coverage.
“The fire damage was confined to the building of origin,” Division Chief Randall Faggart said.
The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical malfunction at a computer in the showroom area.
Gibbs said the store’s alarm service called in a general alarm, which prompted Kannapolis Police Officer Travis Furr to investigate.
Furr responded quickly to Cloverleaf Plaza from the middle of town, Gibbs said. Getting out of his patrol car, Furr noticed smoke and felt the fire’s heat through the front door. He called the Fire Department.
From their surveillance tapes, Gibbs said, the store owners later determined that from the first report of something amiss until the Fire Department’s arrival took 17 minutes.
“Their quick response saved us a lot,” he said of the fire and police departments.
The store covers roughly 2,500 square feet. Village Jewelry has been in business 23 years and employs about 10 people.
Gibbs said a restoration company will be called in to clean up the store and salvage the furnishings that can be saved before a full remodeling begins.
Gibbs also stressed that the store’s defenses aren’t down. The insurance company is providing 24-hour security, and security alarm representatives already have begun running new wire.
Gibbs said he and Fennell are used to a daily routine where they are moving all the time and trying to help customers.
“We’re wanting to run, but we’re taking baby steps now to build it back up,” Gibbs said.