Get well card created for IGA

Story and photo by Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance

It’s one of the largest “get well” cards ever created in Langley, sent from a whole neighbourhood to a beloved local business.
Robert Lee, longtime owner of the Fort Langley IGA, received the massive three-panel card in the wake of the fire that destroyed the store.
“Unbelievably touching,” Lee said of the card. “There’s no words to describe what’s happened.”
The card was the brainchild of Gay Smith, a local woman who, like many, felt the absence of the store as a meeting place and a Fort institution.
She set up two poster-sized panels at the Fort’s post office for anyone to sign, and took a third to the Fort Langley Business Improvement Association.
Hundreds of signatures and messages of support adorn the now-framed panels. “It didn’t take very long,” Smith said of the project.
Andy Abreo, an employee of the Fort IGA and a local resident, dropped by the post office frequently to watch the signatures fill in every available space. “I saw it grow,” he said.
The young man, now working part-time at the Langley City IGA, was one of the first employees on the scene the morning of the fire. He joined his fellow workers as they watched Township firefighters make a vain effort to put out the flames.
“We didn’t say much, we just stood there,” he said.
Still in his 20s, Abreo noted that the store has been there for longer than he’s been alive.
While the old store is being commemorated, the new one is slowly being born. “Obviously, we’re going to rebuild,” Lee said.
However, it will take longer than a few months. It will involve consulting with the community and designing a new store that will fit the heritage-style requirements for building on the Fort’s main street. Those requirements certainly didn’t exist when the grocery store was first built almost 70 years ago.
However, the Lee family hasn’t even talked to architects yet about the design. On Friday, they were pleased that the clean up of debris from the old store is expected to finish. Then the parking lot behind the store will be re-opened.
The public will be kept up to date through the media, but also through a new Facebook page created by Abreo.

See this story in Langley Advance by clicking here:Get well card created for IGA.


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