The Old Market Business Association is pulling together to help businesses affected by the weekend fire.
Members met at the Urban Abbey Coffee shop to hold their regular meeting Tuesday morning, but they devoted a good portion of their discussion to address the impact of Saturday’s fire.
“It's looking as of right now, like, some of the insurance carriers don't have very good coverage when it comes to tipped-employees,” says Troy Davis, acting president of the association and owner of Curb Appeal Salon and Spa. “So, is there a way where we can supplement their income until they find new work and can get back on their feet? “
Members shared ideas on how to help employees from M's pub and the clothing store Nouvelle Eve, ranging from crowdfunding to hosting social benefits.
During the meeting, Jake Gardner, owner of The Hive, said he plans to host a job fair Sunday, Jan. 17 from 2 to 5 p.m. for workers who lost their livelihood to the blaze.
Details for the job fair are still being sorted out but he estimates several dozen employers will be ready to hand out applications and meet with prospective candidates.
Gardner says he also plans to hold a drive for people looking to donate items for residents who lost their homes during the fire.
For Davis, the district is a hot spot for patrons but it is also a tight-knit community.
“I think we're a pretty humble folk of people that just have a lot of love and compassion for each other and care a great deal about our community,” Davis says.
On Monday, a fence went around the damaged building to block anyone from getting too close.
The intersection at 11th and Howard streets is still closed for the foreseeable future as fire investigators wait to see whether it is safe to enter the building.
But for shop owners in the Old Market – the challenge now – is getting back to business.
“A lot of us are trying to go about our daily lives and open our businesses and do business as usual,” Davis says. “I think the thing that would help us the most is…[people] coming down here.”