Community rebuilds after arson fire damages downtown businesses

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, November 25 2015 Nov 25, 2015 Wednesday, November 25, 2015 3:49:00 PM CST November 25, 2015 in News
By: Ashton Day, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

MOBERLY - A Moberly clothing store held its grand reopening Wednesday night, two weeks after a fire damaged its previous building.

The Nov. 7 arson fire caused extensive smoke damage to Encore, a women's clothing shop.

Two other businesses closed due to the fire. Duval & Reid, a men's clothing and tuxedo store, and J & R Variety are both closed indefinitely due to excessive smoke and water damage. 

Encore owner Julie Sharp said she had to purchase an entirely new inventory and move to a different location before being able to reopen.

"There was a time two weeks ago when I just wanted to throw up my hands and be done," said Sharp. "But there's always something good that comes from something bad." 

Sharp's son purchased a building in downtown Moberly a couple days before the fire. Sharp and her husband now rent space from the building for the new store, which is right across the street from its former location. 

Sharp said she expects more than 300 people to come to the store's reopening. The event began at 4 p.m..

"This has been an eye opening event for our community to help support local business," Sharp said. "Our community has really pulled together."

The reopening featured music, tours of the building and nostalgic photos of Moberly. 

Moberly police released surveillance video that determined the fire was arson. Police Chief Russell Tarr said the department was still investigating leads (see video below).

Sharp said she's not concerned about finding the suspect.

"He'll have to live with what he did, but finding the suspect is not my focus. We need to move forward from this and make our town better," Sharp said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the State of Missouri arson hotline at 1-800-39-ARSON, the Randolph County TIPS line at 660-269-8477 or the Moberly Police Department at 660-263-0346. Moberly police said information that leads to the arrest will be eligible for a reward.

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