Sylvia Hiler held a piece of art she brought into a new store space on Monday morning in downtown Casper.
It’s something of a homecoming for the piece of mixed-material art, which Hiler bought some years back when the space was occupied by The Corridor art gallery. Now Hiler, just over two months after a devastating fire destroyed her home and damaged her business, is reestablishing in the Corridor’s old space just across the street.
“We wanted to stay downtown and there isn’t much (space) down here,” said Hiler, co-owner of Alpenglow Natural Foods.
Hiler and her husband Claude opened Alpenglow at 109 E. Second Street in the mid-90s. They also lived in apartments above the shop.
On Feb. 28, that lifestyle abruptly ended when a fire raged through the upstairs apartments just as the Hilers had turned in for the night.
The Hilers escaped with their two granddaughters as the fire quickly engulfed the apartment. A pet cat died.
The fire was quickly contained by Casper firefighters, but because of the smoke and fire damage building owner Lou Taubert has decided to start from scratch.
On Monday morning, crews from Zitterkopf Construction were busy installing a temporary construction facade on the former Alpenglow building.
The entire building will be completely gutted from top to bottom, according to Taubert. The process will take only a couple of weeks.
Taubert doesn’t have concrete plans for the space, but he does hope to build apartments above and use the bottom once again for retail space. Once gutted the building will be ready to build to suit for the next tenant.
Taubert is optimistic about downtown’s energy and growth. “I walk out of the store at 6:30 p.m. and there’s traffic,” said Taubert while standing in front of his western wear and outfitter’s store that has been a Second Street landmark for decades. “I’m thankful people are putting money into businesses down here.”
Alpenglow’s new space, now at 120 E. Second Street, is significantly smaller than the 35,000 square feet of the old store.
Still, Hiler is optimistic about the new store, which she hopes to have opened by this Friday.
“We’re getting there!,” said Hiler.