CAPE CORAL, Fla. — An independent grocery store celebrated its second grand opening in less than a year Thursday.
Farmer Joe's, which opened at 1401 SW Pine Island Road in mid-January, has been closed for more than two months following the landfall of Hurricane Ian.
Store leaders said the building suffered "significant damage" and the loss of most of its inventory due to the storm.
In the intervening weeks, crews have been working to repair and refresh the store, while job fairs have been held to rehire a staff of clerks, bakers, meat and fish experts, among other roles.
Now, owner Lee Snyder Sr. says the store is ready to open its doors to customers once more with Thursday's grand reopening.
"We want to thank our customers for their patience," Snyder said in a statement. "We can't wait to welcome them back."
Snyder gave some customers hugs as they entered the doors. Customers said they were excited to get back to shopping for specialty items they'd come to expect from the store.
In the weeks immediately following the hurricane, the store's parking lot was used as a food distribution point. Store leaders said more than 5,500 Southwest Florida residents were provided with food, water, and supplies during that time.