STATESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — AJ’s Heavenly Discount in Statesville has reopened after the downtown business closed after a fire tore through the building in late April.
It’s a popular store on South Central Street where customers can find deals on everything from home decor to food to electronics.
The store is named after the owner’s son and greeter, Anthony “AJ” Fogle, who nearly drowned in 2016.
“He went from being a normal, walking kid to he can’t walk and talk but he understands everything, and he knows what’s going on,” owner Jammie Fogle said.
AJ was able to understand that a fire prevented his family from working for weeks.
“It’s been hard, it’s been devastating,” Fogle said. “It’s our way to give back to the community and we couldn’t. We’ve had people asking every day, ‘Are you guys okay? When are you opening?’ It’s been financially hard for us as well because since we’re not open we’re not making any money.”
Customers walked through the doors Tuesday afternoon exactly two weeks after the fire happy to see AJ and Fogle while shopping for good deals.
“I spend a lot of money up here and buy a lot of stuff; different things like pillows, baby clothes,” customer Brenda Hopkins said. “I buy my pajamas up here.”
Customers say the owners go above and beyond to help the community.
“I live in a senior community, and [AJ’s staff] understand us,” Hopkins said. “If we can’t come up here, they deliver to us so they’re just special people.”
Cleanup continues on Center Street and business owners are hopeful better days are coming.
“We’re going to hope that we continue to have the community to support us and continue to grow and continue to be here for several more years hopefully,” Fogle said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.