Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Gene Kennedy Reporting Coming back to Trolley Square won't be easy for a lot of people. It's definitely not business as usual yet; but store owners and managers are trying to move on while respecting the families of those who lost their lives.
Some stores have boards covering shot-out windows. The broken glass has been cleaned up and shotgun blasts have been covered in plaster. It's definitely an uncomfortable reminder of what happened here but businesses hope the customers will return.
The first sign of getting back to normal came around 6:30 this morning when a security guard was removing crime tape. By 8:00 the grounds keepers were back to work.
One of the first stores to reopen was Cabin Fever, where Carolyn Tuft and her daughter were shot while looking at Valentine's cards. On the south side of the mall is a make-shift memorial in honor of those who lost their lives.
Very few, if any, customers were there this morning, and only a handful of stores were open. But mall managers are OK with that. They want each store to reopen when business owners feel comfortable.
Tom Bard, Mall Owner: "Some felt that they wished to open today, to initiate the healing process. Not so much to do business but to initiate contact with their customers."
David Knighton, Director of Operations, Rodizio: "It's hard, obviously first our heart goes out to the people who were affected by all this. There were a lot of people affected by this."
David Knighton runs the Rodizio Grill. He wasn't inside the restaurant the night shots rang out, but he's heard the stories from his employees.
David Knighton: "I'll be honest, there are some store employees really struggling right now."
But store managers believe the customers will return. Rodizio still has 600 reservations for Valentine's Day.
David Knighton: "There will be a few people who have a hard time coming back to Trolley, we know that. But we hope people recognize this is an isolated incident. One guy coming in here isn't going to change the future of Trolley Square."
Nearly half of the stores reopened today and more will open up tomorrow. Mall managers expect that by Friday all 60 of the businesses should be open.
A statement released by Trolley Square indicates that all restaurants will be open by Thursday and a majority of retailers open by Friday.
Retailers opened on Wednesday, Feb. 14: