GIBSON CITY, Ill., (WCIA) — Gibson City is still working on rebuilding after a fire damaged multiple buildings on the Fourth of July. On Thursday, one of those buildings was torn down. Crews worked to clear the space where the bar Jay’s Place once stood.
Business owners and Gibson City residents alike said they miss Ace Hardware. It’s right next to Jay’s Place and has been closed since the fire. Now with the bar being torn down, crews can get more work done inside of Ace.
“We’re missing a lot of these stores,” Tena Kincaid said. She’s lived in Gibson City for 10 years.
“A lot of people go to Ace, it’s one of our favorite stores to go to. Especially for Christmas shopping,” she added.
She’s happy construction teams are making progress so quickly after this summer’s fire. She said she’s seen the open space sitting there for the last six months, and it’s been hard for downtown.
Ed Miller owns JELCO Supply in downtown Gibson City. He said with stores closed from the fire, he’s noticed fewer people downtown in the last few months. But, he’s confident it won’t stay that way for long.
“It’s slowly starting to come back a little bit,” Miller said.
He wants Ace to reopen just as much as the next person.
“I didn’t realize how many little screws, parts for fixing safes or firearms or whatever I needed to work on my own vehicles, to just go in there and get stuff,” Miller said.
But, with Jay’s Place being torn down, Miller said it allows crews to get more work done inside Ace Hardware.
“The wall was compromised between Jay’s Place and Ace Hardware. Ace Hardware couldn’t do anything with the wall until everything got settled,” Miller said.
Jim Gravitt is a business owner in Saybrook about 10 miles from Gibson City. He’s ready for Ace to reopen so he doesn’t have to drive as far to get supplies.
“I have to go to Paxton which is another 15 miles,” Gravitt said. “That’s 25 miles one way for me.”
He knows it’ll take time, but also knows that the day it can reopen its doors, people will be waiting in lines outside.
“One little baby step at a time and next thing you know, the whole thing’s back up and running,” Gravitt said.
Hustedt Jewelers on the other side of Jay’s Place was also impacted. On Facebook, they posted that the work inside will start soon. They’re working with insurance and looking at repair options.
WCIA also checked in with the State Fire Marshal’s office. A spokesperson said the cause is still undetermined.