Modesto businesses bouncing back after devastating suspected arson

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MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Five Modesto businesses were reduced to ash in June by a suspected arsonist, but some business owners have been bouncing back.

“You get dealt these things in life and you just deal with them as best you can and move on," Jay's Trophy Shop owner Chuck Wells said. "It’s your only option."

Wells' shop is one of the businesses that burned down when investigators say Dana Woods set a strip mall on fire.

"When the store burnt down, I was right away thinking, 'What am I going to do? Where am I gonna go?'" grocer Trong Vuong said.

The fire left many business owners feeling helpless but hopeful.

"Wanted to get this store up as soon as possible to reopen," Trong said. "I know there’s a lot of customers waiting for me to reopen."

Vuong owns one of the only Asian grocery stores in the city. After he lost his store to the fire, he said staying closed was not an option and has been trying to reopen.

"Trying to get the blueprints and everything done and just trying to get this going is very stressful," he said.

Both Trong and Wells are determined to share once more their services with the customers they have long served.

“I’ve had a lot of other jobs and this is the most gratifying job I’ve ever had because of what it means to people," Wells said.

Vuong plans to open his new grocery store in February or March of 2020.

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