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Frizelle Enos owner vows to rebuild

  • Frizelle Enos Feeds, gutted last summer by fire in Sebastopol, will be rebuilt but may open under another name. (KENT PORTER/Press Democrat)

The arson-ravaged Frizelle Enos Feeds building will rise again in Sebastopol, its owner says, and once more sell goods for farms and pets.

Still to be announced is exactly who will operate it.

The building with the red-and-white checkerboard banner was destroyed by fire in July. But it will be rebuilt as quickly as possible, said property owner Tennyson Tucker.

“There will definitely be a feed store,” Tucker said Thursday.

Don Benson, one of Frizelle Enos' three partners, also expressed confidence that a feed store would return to the Petaluma Avenue location, even while acknowledging that it remains too soon to say who will own the business.

“Frizelle Enos will be back, one way or the other,” Benson said.

The July 13 fire caused an estimated $2.8 million in damage to the business and the building, which has been a Sebastopol landmark for 80 years.

Both city officials and long-term customers lamented the loss of the store and spoke fondly of the the wide range of items the business offered for pet owners and backyard farmers. They voiced hope that Frizelle Enos could be rebuilt.

Using surveillance video from a nearby building, police a few days later arrested west county transient Steven Barton Edmonds for suspicion of arson.

Edmonds, 53, pleaded not guilty on Oct. 16 to the felony charge, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office. A jury trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 6.

Frizelle Enos was Sebastopol's longest-running business. Tucker had owned it for 12 years before selling it more than two years ago.

Frizelle Enos' three current partners — Benson, Darrel Freitas and Glenn Bach — also own the company's store in Penngrove.

Tucker, age 70, said he stands ready, if needed, to operate the feed store in the rebuilt Sebastopol building. He suggested it was too early to say when the store might be ready to open.

He said he hired a local contractor and met last week with city officials to discuss the work that must be done. He expected that insurance proceeds will pay for most of the reconstruction.

Sebastopol Planning Director Kenyon Webster said officials stand ready to help once Tucker files an application to rebuild.

“The city is very supportive of seeing Frizelle rebuilt,” Webster said. “We would like to see it back in business.”

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