Arnold's opens doors to revamped store one year after arson
By LYNSI BURTON
Bremerton Patriot Staff Writer
July 19, 2010 · Updated 10:00 AM
A few bed spreads and display accessories may be still missing, but the Arnold’s Home Furnishings store is back at its Kitsap Way location, having opened Monday to customers.
The store was rebuilt after being destroyed in an arson last summer set by a Port Orchard 17-year-old, who was sentenced to at least two years in juvenile detention. The fire, which took two days to extinguish, left little more than a shell of the 59-year-old store and caused $10 to $12 million in damage, according to court documents.
For almost a year, the store was relocated to an old skating rink on Marine Drive, near the original showroom.
Though the old building was completely gutted, manager Ralph Erickson said it was a chance to reinvent the store.
“There’s always opportunities in everything we do in life,” Erickson said. “We took that opportunity to create the latest and the best we could in this industry.”
Despite the challenges of the past year, Erickson said that customers have remained loyal, maintaining sales levels at the Marine Drive store.
“The community has really supported our store,” he said. “People wanted to help by buying from Arnold’s.”
Kathy Christensen, who designed the renovated building’s layout, said the new building allowed her to revamp the store’s displays, creating a more visually exciting environment.
On the second day of the new store’s opening, she said she already heard positive feedback from customers.
“People are very pleased,” she said. “We’ve had so much support from the community, it’s been wonderful.”
The store is receiving new inventory every day to help complete the displays. Arnold’s is continuing to build up its stock in anticipation of its grand opening, running from July 23 to 25.
“It’s gone amazingly well,” Erickson said. “It’s been wonderful.”