WEST PEORIA, Ill -- Cindi Tritsch watched as Haddad's burned to the ground two years ago on New Years Eve.
"I got a call from my daughter telling me that they heard it on the scanner and it was just heart breaking. I was close to the owner and his wife and everybody was in tears. To see the building go down, to think about the customers and the camaraderie we have with our customers and what everybody was going to do," said Haddad's Delivery Coordinator Cindi Tritsch.
Less than a year later, the store reopened bigger and better than ever.
"It was very stressful getting the place put back together. Now that it is finished I think that it turned out quite well and I know that the folks here in West Peoria are very appreciative that they have their store back," said Haddad's Owner Mark Wrhel .
Wrhel was worried that customers might not come back after spending a year shopping elsewhere.
"I call it the right and left habit. Where you get into the habit of turning right to go somewhere and then if that place is gone you get into the habit of always turning left. I didn't see that once we reopened. It was almost like people were thankful that they could break that new habit and come back to some old habits," Wrhel said.
Haddad's customer Colleen Langan said she couldn't wait until they reopened.
"Like I said, the deli is my favorite part and even when I do bigger grocery shopping at like say Wal-Mart, I still come back here to get the stuff that I need from here," said Langan.
"To walk through the aisles and to see people I hadn't seen for a year. Although some of them I might run into outside of the store during the year of the fire. It's just great to be back. I feel like we are back with family again," said Tritsch
While things have returned to normal for Wrhel and the store, New Years Eve will always mean something different to him.
"I like to spend New Years Eve up here just to keep an eye on things. You don't want to let that happen again and I just feel like my New Years eve celebration is here in the store roaming around in the dark by myself than it is sitting in a bar somewhere," said Wrhel.