(Re)Open; Shopkeepers voice anguish, new hope.

Byline: Aaron Nicodemus

The following correction was published July 12, 2008:

Desi Market, displaced when fire destroyed the Northboro Shopping Plaza in March, will reopen a new, larger market in Christmas Tree Shops plaza on Route 9 in Shrewsbury on Monday. Because of a photographer's error, the location of the new market was incorrect in a photo caption in yesterday's Telegram & Gazette.


Every day, Laura Teczar has to drive by the house of the teenager who is accused of torching her business and sending her life into chaos.

Nicholas Couture, 18, of Shrewsbury, has been charged with setting the March blaze that destroyed the Northboro Shopping Plaza and displaced five businesses, including Queen Bead & Gift. He is being held on $500,000 cash bail and is expected back in Westboro District Court on Aug. 6.

Ms. Teczar, who is feverishly working to reopen Queen Bead & Gift on July 21, said she would like to tell Mr. Couture just how much pain he caused with his careless action.

"We have just been devastated, devastated, all of us," she said. "It's been months and months of work to get us back to this point." If Mr. Couture is convicted, she said, she would like to face him in court and tell him about how the fire hurt her and her family.

Like Queen Bead & Gifts, other businesses displaced by the fire are set to reopen.

Caught without any insurance, the owners of Desi Market, an Indian grocery store and halal butcher shop, threw away thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of food, with no option for compensation. The owners managed to salvage the store's refrigerators, but most everything else was a loss.

Mohammad Shakir, one of the owners of Desi Market, peppered a reporter with questions about Mr. Couture and the progress of the case.

"It hurt a lot of people," he said of the fire. Three families - his, his brother Sajid Abdul's, his father Mohammad Bashir's - are totally dependent on the store for their income. They have struggled while trying to find a new home for the market.

They managed to cobble together a plan to rebuild by taking out a second mortgage on Mr. Shakir's Shrewsbury home, obtaining traditional bank financing and leaning on extended family for financial support.

Mr. Shakir and his relatives are primed to open a newer, larger Desi Market on Monday in Shrewsbury.

They're moving to the Christmas Tree Shops plaza on Route 9, into a space more than twice the size of their previous space in Northboro.


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