TIPP CITY — Almost exactly a year after a fire closed its doors, Browse Awhile Books has reopened for business.
Last Thursday the store celebrated with a ribbon cutting and owner Bill Jones thanked those that have helped make reopening possible. On Saturday, June 17, the store opened its doors to the public once again.
The 1871 building was heavily damaged on the night of June 20, 2016, which destroyed the upstairs apartments and closed the business below. The bookstore mainly suffered water and smoke damage.
The building is a part of the downtown historic district, and was rebuilt to look exactly as it did before the fire. It needed a new roof and new floors. The top half of the building — including two apartments — was completely rebuilt, and the facade was replaced.
Jones said the community has been very supportive and has also kept tabs on the construction process.
“There’s been continuing interest and people always popping their heads in,” Jones said.
In the months after the fire, volunteers helped to remove and sort several tons of books, Jones said. Ginghamsburg Church stored thousands of books that were salvaged from the store. Several other local businesses and organizations stepped up to help in the aftermath, Jones said, including Amity Mold which provided cartons for the storage of books following the fire.
Jones said employees and volunteers were still working to sort and shelve books in the days leading up to the reopening.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Jones said.
Manager Amanda Carl said each book needed to be cleaned and dusted before returning to the shelf. The majority of the store’s current inventory survived the fire.
The two upstairs apartments are once again occupied, one by the couple that escaped the fire last year.
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