Benefit set to help workers affected by fire at Wausau business - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Benefit set to help workers affected by fire at Wausau business

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

A Wausau business is making progress to rebuild after a fire forced it to close. Now, the community is coming together, once again, to help during the holidays.

Although the fire at Downtown Grocery happened in September, owner Kevin Korpela is reminded of it every day.

"Everything is covered in smoke,” said Korpela. “Smoke and soot."

He says now, it's all about cleaning up.

"Just the simpleness of disassembling our wooden shelves, which we can get packed up and sent away to get cleaned," he said.

It's also about moving forward.

"Determine what of those products we do want to return, and what things do we want to let go away and we bring in some new items," said Korpela.

As the business rebuilds, 21 employees are left waiting to get back to work.

"They all seem really positive,” he said. “All of us are in the same situation that it's something we don't want to plan for."

But something is being planned to bring their spirits up just in time for the holidays. Thrivent Financial will be hosting a benefit lunch at Thrive Foodery in Wausau.

"They're going to be serving a great farm to table lunch with soups, salads and sandwiches," said Joel Rueber, a financial associate at Thrivent Financial.

All the proceeds will go to employees.

"The money's going to be great,” said Rueber. “But think about members of the community demonstrating their support for them, just by showing up and encouraging them."

"The benefit will be a great opportunity to really show our staff the support that we care for them," said Korpela.

We spoke with owners of the building. They say it's still uncertain when Downtown Grocery will open again, but they're optimistic it will happen sometime next year.

"The recovering from a fire is not really a playbook on what next steps necessarily to follow," said Korpela.

But he says they're staying positive and knows their business will be back soon enough.

"We really can't wait to get back in and start paying our rent you can say,” he said.

The benefit is December 13th from 12-3 p.m. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 in advance, and $30 at the door.

If you're interested in going, click here.

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