MILLCREEK – Business owners in Millcreek get their first chance to assess the damage after a massive fire forced them to shut down last week. Some say they don’t know how long it will take to rebuild, or if they ever will.
The owners of the stores just to the south of the construction site fire were escorted into their stores to retrieve “essential items” from their shops. Amari Salon and Spa Owner Kami Flinders says investigators are still treating the area as if it was a crime scene, even though the ATF hasn’t released any information about a cause.
This is especially frustrating for Flinders, since her salon wasn’t hit by the fire. It’s a separate building that stands in the same parking lot as the buildings that were damaged, so access to her salon is still cut off. She says this is causing them to lose a ton of money.
“An average stylist is losing anywhere from $500 to $800 a day,” she says.
There are ten stylists in her salon, so the losses are reaching into the thousands. Her biggest concern is that her client base, which has taken years to form, could be lost.
Flinders says, “Unlike with COVID, when everything was shut down and you couldn’t do anything about it, we’ve got clients who want their hair done, and they can’t get it done. We risk losing them.”
Things are more complicated for Hyland Pharmacy owner Glade Baldwin. His business was inside a building that was designed to better handle fires, but, he says the heat from this blaze was so intense, it’s possible it could still collapse because the cement may have been weakened.
“It could change the crystalline structure, so it looks fine on the outside, but they core it out and they find out it no longer has any integrity,” Baldwin says.
On top of that, he has to keep an active log of every pill, narcotic and medication that needs to be moved out. Baldwin says he can’t just move those medications anywhere since they need to be taken to an approved location.
Baldwin says, “I honestly feel like I’m a circus juggler with 12 balls in the air, and I don’t even know how to juggle.”
If he is forced to move, Baldwin would have to find a location approved by the federal government.
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