After fire, Big Run Carpet reopens

BIG RUN — A major fire that destroyed Big Run Carpet June 19, 2011, might have spelled the end to the long-time family-owned business, but thanks to the help of family and friends, the store rose from the ashes with a ribbon-cutting Friday for the new store.

The former building may have been destroyed in the blaze — which was later classified as arson — but not the spirit of the London family and area residents who pitched in to help keep the store open with two small portable buildings, a storage building and a small office, said owner Jeff London.

His father and former store owner, John London, said the new building is state of the art for a carpet store.

“Something the new store has that the old one never did is an indoor restroom,” he said, adding that there was an outhouse at the rear of the old store.

John said there were many issues with the former store, which was destroyed in the fire.

“It was put together piece-meal a little bit at a time,” he said. “We would take a roll of linoleum and roll it out on the roof to keep the weather out. All of the construction over the years was patch-on-patch.”
He said the carpet business has changed quite a bit over the years, and now his son will be able to operate his business as a modern carpet store does.

John said Charles Dobson Construction did a great job in constructing the new store, which consists of steel walls and roofing. And Nick Lantz, president of Big Run Borough Council, said he was glad that Jeff decided to keep the store in the community instead of moving it elsewhere.

“This business is very beneficial to the community, and the residents are very happy that Jeff decided to stay here,” he said.

Jeff thanked everyone who has helped him over the past year to keep the store running.

“From the firefighters who battled the blaze Sunday morning in June, (to) everyone who showed up to help salvage what we could from the charred remains ...” he said.

“I want to invite everyone out to see our new building and the new products in the store,” he said. “It was Charlie (Dobson’s) idea to build the ceiling 16 feet high so I could display my rems up against the wall as other stores do today.”

Jeff said the new store isn’t as large as the old building, but it’s a lot more efficient.

“The name of the store is Big Run Carpet, and it has been here forever,” and it wouldn’t have been the same if he had moved the store elsewhere, he said.

“It was through the support of all of my friends, competitors and relatives that helped get the business through these tough times,” Jeff said.

Not to mention, he said, it is nice to have an indoor restroom at last.