Volunteers help stock Akron grocery store; former Bella's Markets to reopen under new owners

AKRON, Colo. -

Most of the people stocking the shelves at Akron's only grocery store don't work there.  They are volunteers.

"You put the green beans in here, like so," explains Tom Harms, one of dozens of volunteers working Thursday morning to help get the store open as soon as possible. "I've done this before, when I was 20."

7NEWS first exposed the problems at what was then Bella's Market in June: Empty shelves, little fresh produce, and the same story at Bella's across the state.

The owner, Sam Mancini, was locked in legal battles with a long history of financial woes, telling 7NEWS he had no plans to re-stock anytime soon.

After months of saying he had no plans to sell, he finally shut down and sold most of the Bella's Markets he owns in Colorado.

"Sam Mancini, thank you for leaving," said Lea Ann Laybourn, a Washington County Commissioner. "Channel 7, we can't thank you enough for hearing our cries, our pleas."

The previous owners, the Odell family, bought four of the stores back and said that Mancini is no longer suing them.

"Everything has been resolved," said Perk Odell. "The only think I can say to the community now is save their money. When we open up, we need some people to buy some groceries."

Odell said they will be open in Akron by tomorrow. The store in Haxtun is already open, and stores in Wiggins and Walden will be open again in a few days.

In Akron, several freezers are broken and tile is being replaced. More food is on the way, but the shelves are better stocked than they have been in years, said Laybourn.

"A full-blown grocery store in our community. How glorious is that?" she asked with a smile.


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