By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times
Kean’s Store, a Mason classic that has remained unchanged in the downtown square for 87 years, is being renovated after severe smoke damage that wiped out all of the merchandise.
In June, an electrical fire at Baja Grill, a restaurant attached to Kean’s, caused smoke to seep into the store and caused major damage. “Everything had to come out. They gutted it. It was a long process,” said Laurie Reed, the store manager of Kean’s.
The store will be the same as before, including the building’s location and layout, but the floors, drywall, and ceiling tiles had to be replaced. “It’s going to be brand new, but everything will look the same,” said Teresa Wren, owner of the store.
Reed said that although it was a lengthy and unexpected process. “It’s really sharp! It will be better in the end.”
Currently, the store’s team is moving merchandise back into the store’s basement. This also includes sorting and marking all of the products. The process is happening quickly; the Hallmark section of the store has already been moved upstairs.
The store has been somewhat of a family heirloom, and represents three generations of the family that has owned it since 1928. Wren calls it a “magical old-fashioned variety store that is very contemporary and up-to-date.” It’s not simply a store; it is a staple in the community that has traditions, such as fashion shows, a holiday open house complete with Santa, and a princess party. These are events the community looks forward to every year, for the past 30. This year is an exception; many of the traditional events will not take place due to the renovations.
“It’ll all be back. We’ll be able to do it again in the future,” said Wren. “I really feel like I’m in a funk, or a dream. We all just feel like we’re walking through the motions. I just know that we’ll have it back soon.”
The store is expected to reopen in November.