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One year later, a damaged Magna business looks back

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Damage to Colosimo's as seen on the day of the 5.7 Magna, Utah earthquake on March 18, 2020. (KUTV)

Thursday marks one year since a 5.7 magnitude earthquake damaged buildings on Magna, Utah’s historic Main Street.

In that year, much of the damage has been repaired. 2News checked in with one business, Colosimo’s, that had to spend three months serving customers outside the building.

Colosimo’s has been around a long time. Owner Danny Colosimo says that in “2023 it’ll be 100 years”.

A year after the earthquake, people come in for sausage, and slip the shop something extra. Colosimo said:

Give me a twenty-dollar bill I give them change and they say, keep it and put it in the earthquake fund”.

The store has been restored, but a year ago today, Colosimo didn’t know what would be waiting for him when he got to work.

The earthquake hit and I drove down, and I saw that we had lost a great deal of the east wall. You know the buildings had crumbled. Yeah it was horrifying really”.

And the cost? “I think it was around $30,000 dollars to repair everything” Colosimo said.

And he says that came out of pocket. Saying:

Quite honestly, we didn’t have any insurance. We had no idea we were on a fault out here."

Magna Mayor Dan Peay says they weren’t the only ones without earthquake coverage.

“I didn’t talk to anybody on Main Street that had it,” Mayor Peay said. "I’ve lived here my whole life practically, and I’ve never had it”.

He says Colosimo’s, the building next to the Empress Theatre, and his own union hall were some of the hardest hit. Peay said:

When that happened, I went down in there and we looked around, and I thought, well this will be a piece of cake. You know it’s put up a facade and then stucco it and we’re back in business”.

But fixing the union hall wasn’t that simple. Peay said; “The first bid I saw on it was like $70,000 dollars. And I’m going, that’s crazy."

Peay says the cost didn’t ultimately come out quite that high. A year later, the mayor says all but one building he knows of have been restored. But to this day, the city still seems to get regular reminders of what happened. Peay said: “People were talking about it being the one-year anniversary of it, and just about the same time this morning there was a 1.4 here in Magna. But I’ll bet most people didn’t even feel it”.

After closing to customers for three months, and serving people from side doors, Colosimo got back behind the cash register. He says the customers made it easy to shake things off:

They’ve been so kind to us this last year, so kind to us. It makes you want to work that much harder to make sure they get what they need."

According to FEMA, federal agencies gave more than $3 million dollars in grants and loans to help people in Utah recover. With the help of Utah Emergency Management, FEMA says they are working to identify recovery efforts that could be eligible for funding or reimbursement.