LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Six months after the costliest hailstorm in state history, Colorado Mills mall is finally ready to reopen its doors.
The mall opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, just in time for the holiday shopping season -- and 197 days after the May 8 hailstorm that shuttered the 1.1 million-square-foot mall.
"As you look around you can see that we`re a work in progress. We won`t be completely finished until sometime into 2018," said Kimra Perkins, the mall's general manager.
She says more than 100 of the mall's stores will reopen, most of them on Tuesday. Many of the remaining stores will reopen by Black Friday.
"If I'm being completely honest, about 8 o'clock last night my staff -- we were like little kids cleaning up our bedroom -- and then you hear your mom coming up the stairs, and we were shoving everything under our beds," said Mailie Medina, owner of Kataluma Chai.
She said it's been a long half-year, but she's been able to to stay afloat during the closure.
All six of her employees will be back at work after the reopening.
"Business insurance. Great thing. Able to help us get back on our feet and ready to go and excited for tomorrow," she said.
On the last full day of construction, the mall was still a maze of ladders and lifts, yellow vests and cleaning crews.
From now on, work will be done after hours so shoppers can spend money -- and shop owners can try to pick up where they left off before the baseball-sized hailstones ruined everything.
"Finally, we're ready. We'll be back," Perkins said.
Last week, store employees were being forced to sign a waiver releasing the mall from liability in case workers got hurt during reconstruction.
The mall manager said those waivers are no longer necessary because all construction work will be done after hours.