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By Tori Mason

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Mills reopened this week after a hailstorm closed the Lakewood mall for six months.

“We are so thankful for all of our customers because it was ten times busier than we ever could’ve expected,” Mailie Medina, owner of Kataluma Chai said.

Kataluma Chai is one of the hundred Colorado Mills stores that reopened just in time for Black Friday, but the biggest smiles aren’t behind the register.

mills reopening Colorado Mills Mall Opens To Shoppers For Black Friday

(credit: CBS)

“We were marking off the days on the calendar until this place opened,” Kataluma regular Shirley Tucker said.

For Tucker, that hailstorm took much more than a mall.

“It was like losing part of the family. We meet with our friends and have coffee here. We went every day,” Tucker said.

Tucker walked inside the Mills every day for 10 years, but the things she picked up can’t be bought.

mills reopening2 Colorado Mills Mall Opens To Shoppers For Black Friday

Shirley Tucker sits with a group of friends after Colorado Mills Mall reopens. (credit: CBS)

“It’s about more than shoppers. It’s about the friends that we meet in here,” Tucker’s friend Ray said.  He credits the mall and Kataluma Chai for introducing him to many of his friends.

When the coffee stopped coming, so did they.

“I was devastated. I was afraid the mall would close. This is my second home,” their friend Florence said.

Six months later, these friends managed to find their way back home and they hope others can do the same.

mills reopening4 Colorado Mills Mall Opens To Shoppers For Black Friday

(credit: CBS)

“Colorado Mills will be a little bit different, but it’s still the same mall and we’re lucky to have it,” said Florence.

Tori Mason is an award-winning reporter for CBS4 This Morning. Follow her on Twitter @ToriMasonTV.

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