HACKLEBURG MARKET BACK IN BUSINESS AFTER TORNADO
Hackleburg re-opened its only grocery store four years after it was destroyed by a tornado.
The Hackleburg Market opened its doors on Wednesday for the first time since the April 27th, 2011 tornado when the storm wiped out the city’s only grocery store.
The money to rebuild the new Hackleburg Market came from the state recovery agency. Governor Robert Bentley awarded $8.5 million in disaster funds to rebuild essential buildings and infrastructure.
The owner of the store, Walley Kemp, said hats-off to the governor for the wonderful job he did in getting everything together to rebuild the store and to all the folks who do this work for the state.
“They were just unbelievable,” Kemp said. “They came to the plate every time we needed somebody to help us out.”
Hackleburg Mayor Whitey Cochran said this market is important because 66 percent of the city’s population is senior citizens and 40 percent of them don’t have transportation. He also said that having to do without a grocery store is a thing of the past.
“We home now, we got a grocery store,” Cochran said. “We’re here to provide for our citizens and that’s what we’re going to do as long as I’m mayor they going to have the best.”
For four years, local residents had to travel to get their groceries. Hackleburg resident Teresa Shackelford said she’s proud to have the store back.
“We can’t say enough how gracious we are to have it,” Shackelford said. “It just feels good to drive right up here and drive back home.”
Local resident Sherry Raper emphasized the importance of being able to get the small things from the store without having to make a long drive, saying they had to make sacrifices without the local store.
“We’ve all had to drive a good distant to get groceries and when you need it, like a small item like a tomato, a cucumber or a potato, something like that, usually we just did without,” Raper said.
The new grocery store was not the only cause for celebration in the city. The governor also got a tour of the new city hall as it re-opened for business..