Small-town Iowa grocery devastated by fire, flood making a comeback

WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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MALVERN, Iowa (WOWT) - A hundred days after a massive fire last year, the owner of Mulholland Grocery said it’s not the end of the road for the iconic Iowa staple.

As Tom Mulholland picks up the pieces of his family’s legacy, he remembers the earth-shattering day when four generations of hard work were gutted by a colossal fire.

”The smoke was so thick and black I couldn’t see my hand at all,” he said.

Many may not know that as first-responders battled the blaze, Mulholland desperately tried to salvage anything he could, emptying a fire extinguisher into one of the rooms.

”I could see I wasn’t doing any good so I just pulled the door shut and walked away,” he said.

It was an emotional memory.

But now, 100 days later, Mulholland promises he will repay the kindness from his community, many of whom sprang into action, donating money, food, and time when the business burned down.

”When a small town loses their grocery store, that is first step in the death spiral for that community,” he said.

The nearest grocery store is 11 miles away now. With a food desert looming and gas station prices soaring, Mulholland’s determination to bring a state-of-the-art facility back to this spot is strengthened by the idea of fresh revitalization for all of his neighbors.

”All of the businesses feed off each other,” he said.

So far, he has secured a $100,000 grant, and he’s exhausting all options for the rebuild with the help of the City Clerk, local businesses, former employees, and the generosity of customers.

”Just the support that everybody is showing. I’ve got a fantastic crew around me,” Mullholland said.

FOLLOW THE PROGRESS: He has been providing updates on the store on his Facebook page.

Hello Friends! It's time for another update! While there is no visible progress being made so far, (and trust me, that's...

Posted by Mulholland Grocery on Wednesday, March 23, 2022

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