Owner of bookstore destroyed by fire plans to rebuild

Construction could begin in about two weeks.

The owner of the 1871 building housing Browse Awhile Books in downtown Tipp City said he will rebuild following the June fires that destroyed an upper area of the building and caused a yet undetermined amount of loss to inventory.

Construction will begin, probably in about two weeks, once debris and the remainder of inventory on the lower level is removed, said Bill Jones. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. He is working with Boone Restoration on a reconstruction project he said is estimated to cost “in the mid-six figures.”

The building lies in the city’s historic district and will be rebuilt to look as it did before the fires, Jones said. “It will look exactly like it did before except shinier,” Jones said. The reconstruction will include replacing the original top half of the building and the full roof. Two apartments will return to the upper floor.

“We are thrilled to see this historic building being saved and to see our beautiful bookstore coming back to life,” said Heather Dorsten, director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

Tim Eggleston, city manager in Tipp City, said the plans for the store is good news. A downtown that has the diversity in shops that Tipp City has, provides for a better shopping experience, he said.

“Browse Awhile Books was part of that diversity. I have no doubt that the business and community is relieved to know that the building will be rebuilt so that the quaint architectural experience that stimulates one visual senses while going from shop-to-shop will also remain,” Eggleston said

Work continues on removing the approximately 150,000 books and packing and storing what could be salvaged in a building at the Ginghamsburg Church. Jones now estimates two-thirds to three-quarters of the inventory of the business started in 1980 in Sidney can be saved. Browse Awhile Books moved to the Tipp City building in 1990.

Jones said the support of the community since the fire has been amazing. “It needs to go back up,” he said of the building and business. “I owe that to the community.”

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but it is not suspicious, according to a fire report.

The fire was first reported the evening of June 20, but it rekindled and crews were called out again the next morning. As crews were arriving on scene around 5:10 a.m., they reported heavy smoke and flames.

Damage estimates have ranged from $600,000 to $1 million.