SCIOTA - D & D Meats is back in business.
The family-owned convenience store and butcher shop opened its doors May 23, nearly nine months after an early morning fire in September caused major damage to the store, prompting owners Adrien and Sharon Dutil to close its doors.
"We're glad to be back," said Sharon, sitting in the newly-renovated store on State Route 22.
The process to get the store back up and running was a long one, said Sharon.
"We kept setting dates, and pushing back, setting more dates and pushing back," she recalled. "One time it because we were waiting on a fryer, another time it was because we needed training on our new cash registers. We finally had to just pick a day to open and just do it."
The major hurdles for reopening were aligning schedules with contractors and deciding how to redesign the store to make it more efficient and user-friendly, said Sharon. The process involved picking out new flooring, expanding the aisles, and making more room for amenities like a coffee station and tables for patrons.
"We wanted to take time to lay it out the way we wanted. We didn't want to just throw it together," she said. "We really wanted it to look like an Adirondack country store, which it does. We wanted it to feel like home for our customers."
The Dutils also wanted to utilize as many local resources for labor and materials as possible, said Sharon.
"Almost everything in here came from North Country people - the paint, the flooring, the appliances," said Sharon. "That was important to us."
Getting the store reopened was also slowed by the fact the Dutils had to handle repairs to upstairs apartments and their home, which adjoin the store.
"We were going in three different directions at once, trying to get everything done," said Sharon.
However, upon opening Monday, Sharon said the business seemed like it didn't miss a beat.
"We thought it would be slow because we really didn't put the word out too much that we'd be open," said Sharon. "But it hasn't been slow."
Longtime customers Carol and Harold Thurber of Beekmantown were among those stopping by the store that day, noticing makeshift signs with the word "Open" on them.
"We've been coming here a couple years," said Harold, who added he and his wife used to frequent the store for its fresh meat. "We've been suffering. Now I can buy my meat again."
"It's more open," Carol said of the store's layout. "It's very nice the way they have it. I love it."
D & D Meats will have a special 30-year anniversary celebration and grand reopening Saturday, June 18. The store's hours are Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.