As the sun beamed down Wednesday morning, Kroger and Collierville officials tied a blue knot to symbolize the grocery store's reopening and reconnection with the town about seven weeks after a mass shooting.
"It is a good morning," said Kroger spokesperson Teresa Dickerson.
"Your Collierville Kroger is now open."
About one hundred employees and town residents cheered Wednesday morning as they waited outside the store at 240 New Byhalia Road, eager to enter the remodeled building.
The Collierville High School band, cheer team, football team and pom squad joined Kroger for its reopening ceremony. Job, the therapy dog at the Collierville Associate Resource Center, was awarded a new bed.
Kroger's doors opened around 9:30 a.m. and employees, customers and officials poured into the newly renovated store.
The $4 million remodel included repaving of the parking lot, a freshly painted exterior, new décor, improved deli and produce sections and rebuilt walls.
Dennis Cobb, Kroger's engineering manager, said remodeling the store in five weeks was "madness."
"(The customers) will see a different store, not what they saw on Sept. 23," Cobb said.
Alongside the new look, the store will also have security posted at the entrances indefinitely, Dickerson said.
The morning was filled with speeches from Kroger associates, town officials and faith leaders expressing gratitude for the community and eagerness to begin a new chapter at the store 48 days after the incident.
"It's a beautiful day in Collierville and a great day for a celebration, which is certainly part of the healing process," Mayor Stan Joyner said.
"I can't tell you how proud the board of mayor and aldermen are of the community and the way that you all have responded to the most tragic thing that's happened, as far as I know, in the history of Collierville."
A 29-year-old gunman, who worked as a third-party sushi vendor at Kroger, opened fire inside the store Sept. 23 after he was asked to leave that morning. The shooter returned to the store in the afternoon and shot 15 people, killing Olivia King then killing himself.
James Avant, Delta Division's human resources leader, said although what happened inside Kroger was a tragedy, good things also came out of it.
Kroger's Delta Division includes workers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.
"This moment will not define us," Avant said. "It will in fact refine us, it'll make us better."
He said Kroger donated the food inside of the store the day of the shooting, about 48,000 lbs, to the Mid-South Food Bank as well as a trailer load of food to Central Church for their victim counseling.
Dickerson said in honor of King and those affected by the shooting, Kroger planted a magnolia tree in its Remembrance Garden in front of the business.
"That magnolia tree will grow to be strong and beautiful, and serve as a place of peace in remembrance," she said.
Dima Amro covers the suburbs for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at Dima.Amro@commercialappeal.com.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Seven weeks after mass shooting, Collierville Kroger reopens