'It's unbelievable that absolutely nothing is there': neighbors remember grocery fire one week later

'It's unbelievable that absolutely nothing is there': neighbors remember grocery fire one week later
The Greenfield community is still sifting through the ashes after a massive fire ripped though one of the only grocery stores in the area. 

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Greenfield community is still sifting through the ashes after a massive fire ripped though one of the only grocery stores in the area.

A fire destroyed the Village Plaza Shopping Center and the Everybody's Grocery store just one week ago, but many in the community still can't believe the icon of the community is gone.

"It is not the same because it was right across the street, and it was just so convenient," said Lis Chapman, who lives across the street from the shopping center. "It was easy, and it is crazy that it is gone. It's just unbelievable that absolutely nothing is there. You forget that about it, and you go oh my God that is right. Then the shock hits you again."

Many in the area were concerned about the lack of access to fresh food in the area.

Wave Transit does provide service to the neighborhood, and officials said the routes could get people to other stores.

However, Beth Gaglione, Director of the Wilmington Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and other. leaders said there's still a need for those living in the Greenfield area.

"We know that grocery shopping on the bus isn't always the easiest thing to do," said Gaglione.  "We think that it is in everyone's hope certainly for the community's best interest that there be some replacement of the store sometime in the near future. I don't know how realistic that is, but I think that is the hope."

Chapman also hopes that a new store will come in and help bring the community back together.

"It will be a blessing to see something else come up here," she said. "What that is and what that will be is still undetermined, but I am sure that whatever does arise is going to be more fruitful. I guess because of the legacy that they have had here. I think that it is going to be a great rejoice for everybody. Maybe Everybody's will just come back as Everybody's, and it will just be like a rebirth."

Gaglione also added that the area might not be considered a food desert just yet, but that a new store like Publix or Lowes is unlikely to move into the area because of their corporate structure.

"Does that mean that there is not a need there, absolutely not," she said. "It is a growing neighborhood, but it is not growing at the rate that some of our other communities are growing like the Ogden area or Pine Valley where those two new Publix stores popped up."

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