Elkhart, Ind. Martin's Super Market shocked many in the community with an announcement that its Bristol Street location, the site of a tragic shooting less than two days earlier, would re-open.
At around 11:15 a.m. Friday, Martin's announced doors would open and shopping resume at noon. By 11:45 a.m. cars were filling the parking lot ready to show their support.
“I think there will be a lot of hugging and a lot of tears” said Kalyn Paul, “A lot of people inside, they’re going to need as much moral support as anybody, it is a very scary thing, a very sad thing.” Paul, like hundreds of other customers took shopping at Martin’s on Friday as a way to support all the employees through this difficult time.
The crime scene tape has been removed from the perimeter of Martin's parking lot, a sign reading "Joins us in prayer and remembrance" remains, surrounded by flags, candles, and bouquets.
“No matter where you go something like this could happen” said Lloyd Yeager, a local EMT and Martin’s customer. Yeager said he will continue to shop and eat at the Bristol Street Martin’s because it is the best way to “get through it.”
Elkhart Common Councilman, David Henke, was inside the store before it opened for a "meet and greet" with returning employees. According to Henke, several shoppers brought in cars and offered their condolences to the workers who lost one of their own.
“Character is not defined by the tragedy but by how we respond to the tragedy,” Henke explained.
Some expressed concern that the store opened too soon after such a devastating tragedy. Councilman Henke said it was a difficult decision for the grocery chain to make, however, the choice was made to start the healing process.