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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Coeur d’Alene businesses step up to assist those displaced by structure fire

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 21, 2020

Coeur d’Alene firefighters respond to a structure fire that displaced six businesses at Fourth Street and Lakeside Avenue early Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (Coeur d’Alene Fire Department)
Coeur d’Alene firefighters respond to a structure fire that displaced six businesses at Fourth Street and Lakeside Avenue early Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (Coeur d’Alene Fire Department)

The Coeur d’Alene business community is scrambling to assist six downtown businesses that were displaced by a fire early Monday, offering shares of their profits and organizing fundraisers to help the affected shop owners get back on their feet.

The fire started at about 1 a.m. in the building at the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Lakeside Avenue, causing much of the roof to collapse and severely damaging at least five of the businesses inside.

Time-lapse video taken from a nearby University of Idaho weather laboratory shows firefighters dumping water from aerial ladders after flames emerge from a corner of the roof. A fire inspector said Monday the fire started near a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit, though the cause has not officially been determined.

The displaced businesses include Schmidty’s Burgers, Cole Taylor Salon, Heart City Tattoo, 720 Haberdashery, a Farmers Insurance office and Emerge, an artist cooperative and an art gallery.

By Tuesday afternoon, some 450 local residents and business owners had joined a Facebook group titled “Here to Help: CDA Business Fires.” Dozens of people contributed to online fundraisers, while businesses organized events, promised to share their own proceeds and offered help with logistics, among other acts of generosity.

Calypsos Coffee Roasters, a popular Coeur d’Alene café, organized a Feb. 8 benefit concert for the displaced businesses, featuring tacos from Taco Works and a performance by local band The DIGaddie.

The Lake City Playhouse said it would donate half of its box office proceeds from Thursday’s performance of the musical “Fun Home” to help Emerge restore or replace its art gallery, which sustained smoke and water damage. In a Facebook post, the theater said Emerge “has been a great friend of the Playhouse and arts in general.”

In another post, oil painter Jeff Weir promised to donate half of his studio sales this week to Emerge.

“Emerge has done a lot of good for me and many other artists in our community,” he wrote.

The Northwest Pet Resort, which offers a range of pet boarding and grooming services, said it would donate half of all proceeds from pet merchandise sold on Tuesday, including food, treats and toys.

“We all support each other. It’s kind of a little big community,” said manager Haley Malloy. “It’s incredible how we all come together and help and care for each other in times like this.”

Eight hair stylists who rented booths at Cole Taylor Salon were left without a place to work due to the fire. So on Tuesday, Courtney Jackson, who owns Alchemy Color Lounge in Hayden, offered to let those stylists use her space at no charge during the next few weeks.

“I firmly believe in community over competition,” Jackson said. “I just hope they know that a lot of us, especially those of us in the hair industry, we’re here to help and want to see them get back on their feet.”

Anthony Nichols, who owns a computer repair shop called Nichols Computer, offered at no cost to retrieve data from business computers that were damaged in the fire. He said it’s imperative small businesses stick together.

“In the day and age of Amazon, if we don’t help each other, we’re all going to die,” Nichols said. “We’re trying to grow the network and all help each other like we used to in the good old days.”

Some of the displaced businesses have sought help in their own ways, too.

Emerge, Schmidty’s Burgers, 720 Haberdashery and the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association started fundraisers on that had raised more than $5,000 by Tuesday afternoon. And Heart City Tattoo scheduled a Feb. 1 raffle to raise money at the downtown Rockford Building, 504 E. Lakeside Ave.

A message on the GoFundMe page for 720 Haberdashery said insurance won’t cover the cost of the fire damage. Shannon and Luis Gomez opened the clothing and tailoring shop in August. The fire destroyed all of their sewing machines and left clothing – including many dress suits belonging to customers – with smoke and water damage.

“The outpouring of support is overwhelming … we thank you,” the owners said in a Facebook post.

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