Early in the morning of Jan. 15, 2012, John Stump and his parents got the phone call no business owner wants to get: their store near Troutville, The Virginian Markette, had gone up in flames.
"I'm pretty empty today," Stump's father Gregg told Fox 21/27 that day. "It could've been worse, I guess. So we'll just wait until tomorrow and see what happens."
Their insurance company brought in a fire investigator, who determined a squirrel got into their attic and chewed several wires, which sparked the fire. Stump says the loss was hard to take and admits there was a time they weren't sure they'd rebuild. But the outpouring of support from their loyal customers quickly cast those doubts aside.
The building the store was in was first built in the early 1900s and was nearly 100 years old when it burned down. Many in the community told us they felt like a piece of their history was lost.
"It's something that we really had to bring back," Stump said, "and it's something that folks in the community all asked us to bring back."
It took about 11 months to settle with their insurance and get their plans and permits in order. Then in December, they broke ground on a new store, and they're quickly making progress.
"It's exciting to see how many folks in the area and that pass through the area are stopping in and still remembering our store," Stump said.
Stump says even though the building will be brand new, it's important to them that it keep some of the historical charm the old store had. For that reason, it will have wood siding. And they plan to incorporate items they were able to salvage from the old building.
"Once we get done with this structure, we're going to have a few pieces of the old building in there that we're going to do some creative things with," Stump said.
The Stumps say they want to thank everyone for their support and that they can't wait to welcome people back to their store.
"We're very excited to get back in business," Stump said.
Stump says they're aiming for a grand re-opening in the spring.