PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews have demolished the Bellisle building in Parchment, a longstanding fixture in the city’s downtown business district.
The building was the site of the Bellisle’s Cut Rate store for more than 50 years. The children of the owners donated the property to the city in 2013.
Margie Locke used to work at the store and came by the site Thursday to watch the demolition. She put up signs weeks ago remembering former owners Bob and Gail Bellisle.
“They both were nice people. They really were,” Locke said.
When Locke’s father passed away, Bob Bellisle helped her return home.
“I’m from New York originally and I didn’t have the money to go to New York for the funeral. They gave me the money and then I did pay them back,” Locke said.
The store has been vacant for many years and was considered beyond repair.
Bobbi Alkhamis, one of The Bellisles’ daughters, said it will be tough not to see the building anymore but understands why it was demolished.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit of a shock,” Alkhamis said.
She has fond memories of spending time in the store with her parents.
“They were married in 1944 and bought the store from Mel Harding and they worked there for 56 years and then in 2000 they retired from the store,” Alkhamis said.
The owners were known for giving back to the community that supported them.
“Dad used to open up the store when it was closed if the basketball team won the KVA championship, and he’d feed all the basketball players,” Alkhamis said.
The building is gone but the memories of what it meant to the community will never be cleared away.
“It’s good to hear all those positive things for generations,” Alkhamis said. “I think my parents touched just about everybody there.”
The city is still figuring out what to do with the property. According to the city manager, some neighboring businesses have expressed interest in purchasing it for parking.