PORT ANGELES – Northwest Tobacco Emporium, which has been boarded up since a vehicle crashed through the front of the store on April 12, is open again.
“While the building outside may appear not to have changed much over the last handful of months and still looks like we’re closed, the inside has been braced securely in order for the city to allow us to resume business,” said Justin Brophy, general manager of the store at 309 E. First St. Suite A, in Port Angeles.
The store has a sign posted outside asking customers to park outside. Another sign asking customers to pardon their dust during construction is planned, Brophy said.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“We also have another location in Sequim, located in the parking lot of the old JCPenny’s with the same hours,” Brophy said in a press release.
”Currently there are no limitations on the business while waiting for the reconstruction to begin. It was an extremely difficult project. It definitely was a process,” Brophy said.
Since the business doesn’t own the building, its owners had to go through the landlord and his insurance company, then deal with a structural engineer, commercial contractor and city officials, Brophy said.
City spokeswoman Jessica Straits said in a Friday afternoon email, “The Tobacco Emporium has been issued a building permit (#23-1100) for a temporary wall to support the damaged structure inside the space.
“The supporting walls are complete and the business re-opened. The owner’s agent is seeking information from the city on a facade improvement grant, to assist in the renovation of cosmetics from the damage,” she wrote.
Mason L. Stollar was identified as the driver who crashed his 2008 Mazda 6 into the Northwest Tobacco Emporium store at 11:40 p.m. April 12.
The car burst into flames and burned part of the building, according to Port Angeles police.
Stollar was trapped inside the car and rescued. He had suffered a broken femur and was taken to Olympic Medical Center.
He was not arrested and has not appeared in court records. Police were awaiting the results of a blood test, said Deputy Police Chief Jason Viada. He had no update on the case, Viada wrote in a Friday afternoon email.
Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols was unavailable Friday afternoon, but said in June that the state crime lab was taking seven to eight months to process blood tests.
Brophy said no one has said anything to him regarding prosecution or restitution.
A witness said the man was traveling at a high rate of speed down First Street before his car crashed into the front of the store.
Brophy said that the store has most products in stock and does custom orders.
“Please be patient with us if for some reason we are out of or don’t have the quantity of the product you’re looking for, but we will do everything we can to get it to you ASAP,” Brophy said in the release.