A triumphant and cathartic return played out in White Rock on Monday, as a staple of White Rock's Five Corner's neighbourhood officially reopened.
"It's been pretty emotional the last few days," said Laura Cornale, owner of Laura's Coffee Corner, as customers filed in throughout the day.
"Support has been amazing. I'm kind of at a loss for word on what this means."
It comes 11 months after a devastating fire that began at a development under construction spread to the Ocean Ridge condominium complex, displacing more than 100 residents and several businesses, including Cornale's.
Most escaped with little more than their pets or the clothes on their back and weren't able to return. The building was damaged beyond repair and deemed uninhabitable.
But the community stepped in with donations — including Cornale, who started a fundraising page that got over $20,000 for residents.
"We all take care of each other," she said at the time.
"There are a lot of seniors in the building and I have their phone numbers on my wall. If I don't see them for a few days, I call and check up on them. If they're going to be gone they let me know so I don't worry about them."
Monday's reopening technically wasn't their first day — that came on Saturday, to mark the seven year anniversary of the opening of the coffee shop in its first location.
It's second opening day was just as memorable for Cornale.
"Anyone who walks through that door becomes my family. I've missed these people," she said.
"It's really special to see all the hard work pay off."
With files from Jesse Johnston