There's no question we're in a difficult economic climate right now. That's why it was such great news when we heard about Country Junction opening the doors to its new store this week.

As virtually everybody knows, Country Junction was leveled by one of the most devastating fires in years in Carbon County. The fire occurred on the morning of Oct. 3, 2006. It was a multi-million dollar fire that left the self-proclaimed "World's Largest General Store" in total ruins.

Jim Everett, the owner, promised from the very start that he would rebuild. He set up temporary retail quarters on his large lot, using a huge tent and some on-site buildings. He kept the petting zoo and playground for small children functioning. His annual Pumpkin Patch at Halloween went on as usual and continued attracting people from miles around.

The years 2007 and 2008 passed and many people were probably doubting that Country Junction would rise from the ashes.

But many zoning issues had to be resolved as well as intensive planning.

Last July, Everett broke ground for the new structure. More than 300 people attended the groundbreaking during which Everett made a grand appearance by parading down a "yellow brick road" that he had installed for the occasion.

Admittedly the new facility isn't as large as the previous Country Junction. But provisions were made that the store can be expanded.

Officials say Country Junction currently has only about half the merchandise it plans to place in the new store. It opened a little prematurely so that people wouldn't have to shop in a cold tent and so people could see that the store is back.

Everett didn't let his employees down. He didn't disappoint his faithful customers. Most of all, he is continuing to help the local economy in a big way.

Not only is Country Junction a retail outlet, it is somewhat of a tourist destination with its specialty items and many promotions.

For this, we have to tell Jim Everett and his family: "Thank you."

It's not easy to survive in a small business today. It's even harder to start over after virtually everything you had was destroyed.

Jim Everett and his family did just that.

We're looking forward to his grand opening of the new store in May.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com