Lululemon store in Bethesda reopens 3 months after worker’s slaying

June 24, 2011

More than three months after the killing of Lululemon Athletica employee Jayna Murray in Bethesda, the athletic and yoga apparel shop reopened Friday and unveiled a stained-glass mosaic emblazoned with the word “love” above the entrance.

The new panel is there to help remember Murray.

“We are hurting,” Kate Murray, Jayna’s sister, said at an impromptu news conference outside the store. “Lululemon is hurting. Bethesda is hurting. Jayna’s friends are hurting. . . . But walking by that sign, it makes me want to smile. There’s no better way to honor her.”

Kate Murray was joined by David and Phyllis Murray, the sisters’ parents, at the store’s reopening, which was preceded by what appeared to be a team huddle in the store. Seen from outside, employees clad in Lululemon gear laughed, hugged and held a moment of silence with hands in the namaste prayer pose.

At 10 a.m., the doors were unlocked, and a dish of water was set outside for canine passersby. About a dozen customers entered the store in its first hour.

For the first time since March 12, it was almost business as usual for the Bethesda Avenue store.

Brittany Norwood, 28, another Lululemon employee, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing. Police say Norwood fatally beat Murray after an argument. Norwood faces up to life in prison if convicted.

“We’re all on our separate paths [in the mourning process],” Phyllis Murray said. “We take a step forward, and we take a step back.”

Murray’s father, David, said walking into the store was “difficult. But when I saw everyone inside smiling. . . . It was very comforting, very warm.”

Since her body was discovered at the store, Murray, 30, has been remembered as “a fighter” by friends and family members for the way she lived rather than the circumstances of her death. Friday was no different.

“Jayna didn’t meet a person she didn’t like. She didn’t realize the collection of friends she made,” Phyllis Murray said. “She never lived in her comfort zone, and she was always out doing ‘one more thing.’ ”

Kate Murray called her sister “an inspiration.”

“Jayna was all about yoga, and she inspired me to start,” said Kate, who admitted with a laugh that she isn’t very good or particularly dedicated to the practice.

Lululemon will hold what the company is calling a “heart-opening” community yoga class at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

The family contributed a memory book to the store, with photos of Murray with her friends and co-workers as well as notes and memories from those who knew her.

“Today is such an honor for [Jayna],” Phyllis Murray said. “Today is a day she is turning cartwheels in heaven.”

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