When Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s Cafe were hit by a three-alarm fire Sept. 25, people from all over Spokane responded with compassion to the news that the two iconic Garland eateries would be out of business for some time.
Immediate neighbors in the Garland Business District wasted no time putting on fundraisers to help the two businesses recover and rebuild after the fire.
Special showings of “Benny and Joon” and “Vision Quest” – both movies featuring Ferguson’s Cafe – at the Garland Theater raised more than $2,000.
“It’s so nice that people want to help out,” said Kris Ritchie, who owns the Milk Bottle together with her husband Ed Ritchie. “It really is amazing.”
Kris Ritchie said they are determined to rebuild the Milk Bottle.
“Right now we are waiting for permits so we can get started,” she said. “When we have all the permits we will be able to make a plan and then we’ll know how long it’s going to take.”
Dave Jones, who owns Ferguson’s Cafe, said he’s in the middle of some asbestos cleanup and also needs to assess the strength of the floor in the restaurant before he knows if rebuilding is an option.
“I sure hope we can rebuild. Thankfully, it has not rained much since the fire so the floor should be OK,” Jones said.
He’s said humbled by the outpouring of support he’s received.
“That has just been awesome,” Jones said. “Hopefully we’ll know very soon what’s going to happen. I sure hope we can get back in business soon.”
The Garland Business District is trying to unite all the fundraising events, said Stacey Takaoka-Stanfield, who owns Karmony Salon and Day Spa and is the secretary of the business district.
“This all happened so very fast,” she said. “We are trying to get the word out that if people want to do fundraising they should contact me so we can get a Garland Business District seal of approval on what they are doing.” She added that the business district wants to help fundraisers promote activities whenever possible.
An account with Washington Trust Bank has been set up for donations.
“We are getting that set up so you can walk into the bank and donate,” said Takaoka-Stanfield. For now, checks and money orders made out to The Garland Business District and marked “fire reconstruction” may be sent to or dropped off at the Karmony Salon and Day Spa.
That’s also where items for the silent auction can be viewed.
“The silent auction is ongoing until we set a date for a bigger event,” said Takaoka-Stanfield. “That will probably be in late November or early December.”
The fire began in a space between the two restaurants, but it’s still unclear exactly how it started.
“Sometimes they never find out,” said Ritchie.