Business owners and customers returned to Trolley Square mall Wednesday as the mall reopened its doors to the public for the first time since Monday night's tragic shooting spree that resulted in six dead, including the gunman, and injured four.
Mall owners met with tenants Tuesday night to decide what would be the best way to heal and to move forward. Trolley co-owner Tom Bard said the group concluded that the mall itself would reopen Wednesday but each business owner could make their own schedule on opening their doors.
Opening on Wednesday was not to re-established a "sense of business as usual, but to let the healing process begin," Bard said.
Many business owners opened their doors at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Bard expected the vast majority of businesses to be open again by Friday. A steady stream of people also flowed through the mall. Some were people who just wanted to see what had happened. Others were shoppers anxious to let the businesses know they still supported them.
Very little evidence of the massacre remained Wednesday. Nearly every window that was broken had been replaced except for one large pain at Cabin Fever. Marks that appeared to be bullet holes were plastered over. The windows of Pottery Barn Kids had been replaced but were covered by paper taped to them from the inside.
Cabin Fever, where four people were shot and killed, will not open for another week.
"We really felt we needed a little more time for ourselves. It's a very small way of showing of our condolences to the families of our stores," said Cabin Fever co-owner David Dean.
A candle and a flower were placed at the store's entrance. Some other stores also posted messages on their doors offering their condolences to those killed and wounded.
But Dean said his other store in the mall was open and he expected 90 percent of the businesses to be re-opened by Thursday."The three calls we had to Cabin Fever this morning were from customers who said, 'We feel bad about what happened' and they wanted to let us know they would be back whenever we opened. That's amazing," he said.