Martin's store where shooting took place reopens - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Martin's store where shooting took place reopens

Updated:

The Martin's where the fatal shooting of Krystle Dikes and Rachelle Godfread took place opened at noon on Friday.  The store had been closed since Wednesday night's fatal shooting, and opened just 36 hours after the investigation started.

In a written statement, Martin's said "As a neighborhood store and family, Martin's will welcome customers back into store knowing that together we are strong."

Police have concluded their work inside the store.  I spoke with Randy Holtzinger, Vice President of Martin's Supermarkets. He says they opened so early to try and get the community back to normal. He says he is overwhelmed with the community support, and received many phone calls from regular customers offering their condolences.

Holtzinger did say some employees chose not to come in to work on Friday.  Martin's is offering counseling service for any employees that want it.

Employees met before the store opened to mourn together over the victims and to comfort some of the employees who were there the night the shooting took place. Martin's also offered a luncheon to staff to thank them for coming back to work.  

I met with some customers as they were leaving Martin's Friday afternoon. Alex Bicknell, who says he stops in the store 3 to 4 times a week, stopped me to tell me managers and the Martin's CEO Rob Bartel were inside the grocery store. He stopped in Friday, not to shop, but to thank the Martin's CEO. He says, "I actually came to thank Mr. Bartel for his kind words." I then asked Bicknell, "Is it going through your head at all that you're going to be walking into what was a crime scene a day ago?" He said, "I thought it would, but going in there and seeing that it's still a family atmosphere and seeing people still care. Regardless of what happened in the past, there's always that step you have to move forward."

Tiffanie Comer was on her way into work when I stopped her. "I just have no idea what to think, what to expect. It's crazy," she said. She's not sure who was working the night of the shooting, but says "I'm sure I'm going to find out when I get in there." Comer says she's proud to call herself a Martin's employee, and she's happy to see the staff coming together in support. "We just need to move forward and try to be there for everybody, and do what we can to move past this. And there's no better time than the present," says Comer.

Lloyd Yager is a regular customer at the grocery store, and says he knows a lot of the employees by name. He said despite the tragic event, he sensed a positive atmosphere inside the store when he walked in, and it was something he didn't expect. "I come here regularly and everybody's nice anyway. They're very much like 'Hey how are you' or 'Can I help you with anything.'"

Customers know it had to be a difficult decision to re-open, and Bicknell says, "The fact that they're opening up the store and having all these members of the organization come here just kind of makes a statement that they're part of something bigger."

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