TRAVERSE CITY — The smell of popcorn wafted through the doors of the State Theatre again, while two doors down Peggy Fry looked for a New York Times at Horizon Books, a simple task she had been denied for six days.
Normal operations resumed today, a week after a structural column collapse in the Red Ginger Restaurant also closed the two-downtown anchor businesses that pride themselves on being open most every day of the year. Both businesses were open within about 15 minutes of receiving a phone call from city Fire Marshal Mike Sheets around 2:45 p.m.
“We’re excited and we’re all smiles,” said Linda Barry, a manager for the State Theatre as 13 people watched this afternoon's matinee. “That’s pretty good considering we just opened 45 minutes ago ... but people have been stopping all week asking when we would reopen.”
Workers and owners at both businesses said they had been ready and waiting — every day waiting — for the notice they could reopen.
“The worst thing was not knowing,” said Amy Reynolds, sales manager and co-owner of Horizon Books. “If I had known I had to wait, that would have been easier than not knowing.”
Fire department officials closed the two businesses May 30 around 9 p.m. after the structural collapse at the Red Ginger because it shares common walls with Horizon and the State. Red Ginger’s second floor sagged about eight inches before construction crews and firefighters were able to temporarily shore up the building. The third floor and the roof also sagged.
City and county officials said the adjoining businesses could not reopen until the floors were jacked back into their original position and a structural engineer certified the buildings’ safety.
A forensic engineer inspected both the State and Horizon buildings on Thursday and an engineer certified both buildings as structurally safe today after completion of the jacking operation, said City Manager Jered Ottenwess.