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Heart of Kansas Mercantile/Miss Pretty Pickles hosts re-opening celebration
The team at Heart of Kansas Mercantile/Miss Pretty Pickles is ready to greet customers again. From left to right are Shelley Carson, Manager Leslie Mingenback and Lynn Howell.

Even though a fire caused extensive smoke damage to a downtown Great Bend business just three weeks ago, a three-day re-opening celebration is set for this week.

The doors to Heart of Kansas Mercantile/Miss Pretty Pickles are scheduled to formally re-open Wednesday. Special activities are on tap for Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the store, 1212 Main.

“We are eager to reconnect with our customers during this grand re-opening,” Manager Leslie Mingenback said. “This great community rallied around us during this difficult time and we want to show our appreciation.”

Events include a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, and drawings for door prizes. Food samples are available for the tasting and a coupon can be clipped from the Great Bend Tribune.

The Jan. 19 fire was caused by inappropriately discarded smoking materials in the alley behind the building. Total damage to the structure came to $150,000.

“At first, we didn’t realize the extent of the damage and what it would take to get us back in business,” Mingenback said. “But thanks to a lot of help from a lot of people, the interior of our store and the inventory are ready for our clientele.”

All ductwork, walls, windows and carpets have been professionally cleaned. The inventory has been thoroughly sanitized and soft-surface items such as clothing have been ionized.

In addition, all the walls have a new coat of paint.

“Magna-Dry handled the cleaning and our team assisted so that we could open as soon as possible,” Mingenback commented. “Todd Clark and his crew shared their expertise and guided us through the cleaning process. They did an excellent job.

“Kem-Tad Painting took care of the walls. Mark and Christine Hermanson fit us into their busy schedule and helped expedite this process. They also did a great job.

“We originally hoped the process wouldn’t take so long. But after talking with the insurance adjuster and businesses that came to our rescue, we realized the extent of the task at hand. Now, we are just extremely happy to open for business again.”

Mingenback also noted the community should applaud the efforts of all the organizations and individuals that helped get the job done.

For example, the Great Bend Fire Department contained the fire and the Great Bend Police Department controlled and directed traffic downtown during the fire, she explained, noting RePerks will re-open soon.

MyTown board members Sheryl Cheely and Mark Bitter offered “their support throughout this whole ordeal and they have our heartfelt appreciation.”

Mingenback also gave kudos to the store’s team including Tonya May, Shelley and George Carson, and Lynn Howell “for their outstanding efforts that led to our re-opening.”

Store hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Heart of Kansas Mercantile/Miss Pretty Pickles specializes in Kansas-themed products such as books by local authors and about Kansas interests; hand-crafted items by local artists; foods including seasonings, rubs, jams, jellies, salsas, Pat’s Beef Jerky and popcorn; Red Barn pet treats and pet-themed gifts; Willow Tree figurines; infants’ clothing; children’s books; toys and gifts; women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories; and lotions, soaps, home fragrances and candles.