Back in business
Rocher family opens furniture store at new location
by Jeff Colbourne
NNSL (Apr 15/98) - After losing their furniture store to arson eight months ago, the Rochers are back in the showroom.
"August 26 was the fire and in two hours when it was still kind of smouldering we got to work," said Jeannie Rocher, daughter of Mary Rocher, founding member of the businesses.
The August blaze gutted the Quality Furniture building and caused $800,000 damage. Only a limited amount of insurance covered the building, all the contents weren't covered.
Gregory Paul Glacier, 19, was charged and convicted of setting the fire which also damaged Les's Second Hand Swap Shop, located in the basement of the building.
The store had been at the location for about a year after moving from the old fire hall.
The new store, located next to the Side Pocket and in the old location of the IGA food store, will offer the same selection of furniture as the old store. The best thing about the family-owned building is that it has a large floor space instead of different levels like at the old location.
"It's going to be nice -- nice and open," said Rocher, adding while it's not as good as the old location, it does have other benefits including its wheelchair accessibility.
Rocher said it's been a lot of hard work trying to get things up and running again but hard work is synonymous with the Rocher name.
"My mom and dad have been very strong-willed people. They're honest and hard-working. Nothing is handed to you and you have to work for what you want." "We've had a lot morals instilled in us," she said.
This year, Mary Rocher hopes to retire from the family business but Jeannie said the fire has set them back.
They still hope, however, to let her go at age 65.
"She's worked hard and long. Forty years of cleaning old stoves. I think that should be enough," said Jeannie.
Mary Rocher, who looks far from someone who is ready to retire, admits these past eight months have been hard.
"It's been a long haul," she said.
As the Rocher's get their store back in business, they still have some unresolved issues burning in the back of their minds.
Particularly towards the arsonist, Gregory Paul Glacier and the justice system which sentenced him to a 18 months in prison.
"For him to basically serve a year and a half and walk away when our family has worked so hard for how many years. It's just unfair," said Jeannie.
"There's a lot of anger there. When we're out there covered in black soot from head to toe, cleaning that mess and he's sitting in jail watching TV. How is that justice? Bring him back over to us. Get him in there. He made that mess. He should be in there cleaning. Not us having to pay somebody else to clean up what he destroyed," she added.
The night of the fire, Glacier was charged with break and enter and theft at Quality Furniture, a break-in at Bartle and Gibsons and another break-in at After 8 billiards hall the previous week. He was also charged with breaking into Bartle and Gibsons the previous night.
The Rochers are talking with RCMP to try and seek reparations from Glacier after he serves his time.