Community Market on Monday morning reopened almost five weeks after massive floods ripped through The Barlow district in Sebastopol, closing much of the shopping center.
Crowds stood in line before the doors opened at 10 a.m. at the grocery store — a beloved worker-operated cooperative that is highly visible next to Highway 12. The store serves as the anchor tenant of the 220,000-square-foot complex on the city’s eastside that has become popular for its beer and wine producers as well as its food scene with places such as Zazu Kitchen + Farm, The Nectary and The Farmer’s Wife.
Shoppers were able to peruse mostly packaged food as workers hurriedly stocked more perishable items as fruits and vegetables as well as beer.
The Victorian Farmstead Meat Co. that is housed in the store also was open and selling its fresh meats. Community Market’s deli and taproom should be open within a week.
“It’s huge to see us coming back from this,” said Kyle Koeppen, an employee who was stocking fresh cauliflower. “We weren’t sure when we were going to reopen. At first, we weren’t sure we were going to reopen.”
Around 70 employees worked at the store and most applied for unemployment benefits to get by while a few were able to pick up some hours at its Santa Rosa location. About 20 were working on Monday morning. In addition, many local food producers also were left in a lurch given that Community Market was known for showcasing local manufacturers.
Community Market’s has been the most profile opening so far as some outlets were submerged under as much as five feet of water from an atmospheric river that tore through Sonoma County in late February.
The owner of The Barlow, Barney Aldridge, said Monday that all shops should be open by the end of the month. He noted that both the Barrio Mexican restaurant and the Crooked Goat Brewing Co. should open within the week.
You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BillSwindell.
This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com, also part of the Sonoma Media Investments news network.