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Winter Garden Popcorn shop still closed after roof collapse

June rainstorm forced Ms. Bee's Gourmet Popcorn and Candy Shoppe to close

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Tarps still cover much of the downtown storefront at Ms. Bee's Gourmet Popcorn and Candy Shoppe four months after it was forced to close. 

Owner Belinda Wilson took News 6 inside what's left of her shop, to show the lack of progress. 

Wilson told News 6 she had rented the store since opening in 2011, and had complained to her landlord about roof issues for the past three years. But then the rain came crashing through on June 7, 2019.

"Next thing I know, this tile, that tile, we had buckets everywhere in here," she explained.

Wilson told it took three weeks for the landlord to repair the roof because of consistent rain. But damage inside the store is still quite extensive, and she still can't move back in and said she likely won't. 

"We're pushing forward," she said. "It's in the legal system, so there's not much I can say now, but we'll do our best to get her open." 

Nearby Plantation Jewelers also flooded from that rainstorm, but it was able to quickly move in temporarily to an empty storefront next door. But that wasn't possible for Ms. Bees. 

"We're not that type of business," Wilson explained. "We require special hooding and special ventilation, so you just can't take that down and move it somewhere. Our machines, you can't just unplug them and move them somewhere." 

Wilson said she still hears from the community often, including notes from those young and old. 

Thank you for popping by and leaving this super sweet, handmade card, Elsa Schaefer! We miss you too ❤️🍿

Posted by Ms. Bee's Gourmet Popcorn and Candy Shoppe on Thursday, August 8, 2019

"We want to get reopened, I'm trying to get open," she said. "It breaks my heart and I hope I don't get emotional. We get a good response from the community. Our goal is to reopen. If it's not here, somewhere. And I want it to be downtown Winter Garden." Until then, she's looking at other possible locations in the downtown with the help of the city and exploring opportunities to open a stand a farmers markets. "We're not going away, even if I have to move somewhere else," Wilson said. "Ms. Bee's will be open again, hopefully sooner than later." News 6 spoke with the landlord for the building over the phone. She declined to contribute to this story.

"We want to get reopened, I'm trying to get open," she said. "It breaks my heart and I hope I don't get emotional. We get a good response from the community. Our goal is to reopen. If it's not here, somewhere. And I want it to be downtown Winter Garden." 

Until then, she's looking at other possible locations downtown with the help of the city and exploring opportunities to open a stand at farmers markets. 

"We're not going away, even if I have to move somewhere else," Wilson said. "Ms. Bee's will be open again, hopefully sooner than later."  

News 6 spoke with the landlord for the building over the phone. She declined to contribute to this story. 


About the Author:

Clay LePard

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.

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