Rebuilding the Market

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amidst a pile of ashes, there are signs of new life in north Suffolk.

The Market, which many considered a community landmark, was destroyed in a morning fire March 3. But the first lumber to rebuild the store has arrived and efforts are under way to get the store back up and running.

“That’s the most beautiful lumber I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said Christine Treakle, owner of The Market. “You can just feel things are going to happen. It’s just so good to see the lumber. It’s a reassuring sight to see.”

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Leonard Willis, who owns the property and structure, immediately set to task after the fire rebuilding the The Market. He soon had the structure demolished, temporary power has been put in for construction crews and Willis said he expects building permits, which have to be approved by the city, to come through any day.

“We have a contractor ready to go as soon as the city issues a permit,” Willis said. “We’re just waiting at this point. As soon as it comes through we will expedite it in any way possible. … Christine has been an exemplary tenant and has really made a place for herself in the community.”

Treakle and her family have operated The Market at the intersection of Eclipse Drive and Bridge Road for the past 10 years. The store has provided breakfast, lunch, deli services, Amish goodies and older memorabilia to those who stop in. But all that was lost.

“We lost everything in the fire,” Treakle said. “All our equipment and goods.”

And more than just business was lost.

“There were also family heirlooms inside,” Treakle said. “We had decorated it with a lot of things from mine and my husband’s family. There were things that were dear to us in that store. It’s hard to let go.”

Treakle said the building has been in the community since 1927 and is believed to have served as a gathering place and service station for the watermen of Hobson and surrounding communities.

“The store was truly a landmark,” Treakle said. “People have come here for years and years. They know and remember the store. Since the fire, they’ve treated us like family. I didn’t realize how much people appreciate the market.”

To show their support, Treakle said, people started stopping by the store to express their condolences.

“People have made it a point to come by,” Treakle said. “They’ve hugged us and cried with us. Just about everyone that has come up here has had tears in their eyes. After the fire, one person would leave, and we weren’t alone long until another would show up.”

Putting their words in to action, the community is pulling together to help the store get back on its feet. Members are organizing a benefit March 27 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Eclipse Ruritan Club. The Island Boy Band will be providing their time and talent, while others will donate items for a silent auction and food for a bake sale. Treakle and her daughter also will make plenty of the Brunswick stew for which they are popular.

“The community has really come together to put The Market back up,” Treakle said. “They’re showing lots of love. It’s been overwhelming. It helps my heart, because this was so hard to deal with and heal from. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be healing very well.”