Nineteen months after a devastating fire at Parkdale Plaza in Waterloo, Dollarama reopened Thursday morning.

The fire, one of the biggest in Waterloo Region in five years, was deliberately set inside the store by a 15-year-old boy.

The blaze burned for more than 12 hours, led to millions of dollars in damages and shut down close to 20 businesses.

Before the fire the Parkdale Plaza location was one of the Dollarama chain’s more popular stores in Waterloo.

During the rebuilding phase, traffic to the plaza was minimal which had a negative effect on nearby businesses.

Homestyle Diner, a restaurant in the plaza, was closed for two months after the fire.

Shoppers Drug Mart left the location entirely.

Greg Watson, owner of a Water Depot outlet at the plaza, said it’s been a challenging time without Dollarama open, as the store brought lots of foot traffic to the area.

“We've been back for about 11 months now and business has been steadily picking up, but I’m hoping this will help bring a lot more exposure to Parkdale Plaza as a whole,” Watson said.

Denise Price is co-owner of the Homestyle Diner, one of the businesses that were forced to close. She says her business still hasn’t fully recovered, but she expects this reopening to help.

“Typically September is a really good month for us. The students come, they’re at the dollar store and then we get exposure from them, all the new students coming in. And we didn’t get that when the dollar store was closed. So hopefully this September, they’ll be back.”

A steady stream of customers were back shopping at the Waterloo Dollarama just a few hours after it opened.

An executive from the company says they’re thrilled to be up and running at the Parkdale Plaza location.

They expect to hire between 15-20 people in the next few weeks.