Bloomington Cub Foods rebuilds after a fire

Mike Geer

On October 9 at 5 a.m., faulty electric wiring in a storage building next to the Cub at Old Shakopee Rd. and France Ave. sparked a fire that quickly engulfed the room. Flames did not spread farther than the storage building itself, but smoke cascaded through nearly every store in the strip mall. Many had to close down due to the smoke, though none suffered greater damage than the Cub.

Because the smoke enveloped the entire store, it got on (and in) almost every food item in the store. Thus, all items had to be thrown out to comply with Minnesota Food Distribution (MFD) regulations. There were a few protesters who opposed the fact that some items had not been touched, though Alan Bennison of the MFD argued that, “smoke residue, while not touching the food itself, is still contained in the wrapping, and could contaminate the food once it’s opened.”

Other businesses were not hit as hard by the fire as Cub was, but there was enough merchandise ruined by the smoke, such as many of the products in the Valley West Hardware shop next door to the inflamed building. Even stores such as Papa Murphy’s Pizza, located over 500 yards away, were harmed by the smoke that seeped through their ventilation systems and ruined its pizza-making ingredients.

While a fire is never seen as beneficial, it did have its advantages. The entire strip mall has to renovate and now has a whole new exterior. Ironically, the business that was harmed the most by the fire received the largest and greatest renovations. Cub installed a new, separate building for a pharmacy and a liquor store. Also, the interior was completely redesigned to look flashier and impress customers.

Hollywood Video was one of the numerous stores which suffered smoke damage in the foundation and structure of the building. “They say every cloud has a silver lining, and we got ours,” said Hollywood Video day manager Carl Mankiewicz, “We had to close down for a few weeks, but snagged a total renovation in the process! It’s a good deal!”

It has taken over a month, but repairs have been made and all remnants of smoke are gone, and Cub is back open for business.