WAUSAU - Since a fire destroyed a beloved Wausau store back in September, the community has been trying to help it get up and running again.
Hundreds of people came out to support the store on Sunday at a benefit lunch put on by Thrivent Financial and Thrive Foodery in Wausau.
The store is Downtown Grocery, a mom-and-pop grocery store that sells locally sourced organic foods. A fire destroyed it a few months ago. Since then it's employees have pretty much been out of a job.
"All of us are displaced from our employment, so particularly during the holiday season, such as this, to show their support," said Downtown Grocery owner Kevin Korpela.
While the workers have been missing their income, the customers have really been missing the food.
"The opportunity to get that kind of produce back on the market sooner as well as helping their employees is pretty important and I'm pretty passionate about it," said Joel Rueber, the event's organizer with Thrivent Financial. "Because it's a community, it is a community business, it's locally owned and operated, they know what they stand for, they know how these guys have actually served the community, over time."
The Downtown Grocery employees were the servers. The farm-to-table lunch menu consisted of soup, salad and grilled cheese.
"So just the emotional, as well as the financial side to assist us with the lost income, as well as the community aspect of sharing stories and things that we like about Downtown Grocery and Wausau in general so I really think it's a wonderful event," Korpela said.†