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Community Rallies Behind Shops Burned - Including Grooming Business

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  • Community Rallies Behind Shops Burned - Including Grooming Business

    Eight businesses were affected by the eight-alarm fire, but the community is coming to their side.

    NATICK, MA — After an eight-alarm fire ripped through eight stores in downtown Natick, residents had one thing on their minds: What are those shop owners going to do next? For many, the next step is as hazy as the smoke that engulfed the building, but one thing is clear — they can't come back.

    Fire crews had to demolish the building and the storefronts affected by the fire on South Main Street, between Pond Street and West Central Street. Smoke and flames charred the building from the inside out and collapsed the roof. Fire officials said there was no salvaging it.

    Eight businesses were affected, including the King Wok Chinese restaurant, where the flames reportedly originated, a fairly new pet groomers' called Metro Pet, the Christian Science Reading Room and Nancy Kelley Dance Studios, a community fixture.

    Kim Melason, a dog trainer who works at Metro Pets, told Patch she's just happy no one was working or got hurt.

    "It's just things, it's all replaceable," she said, "We'll find a new location."

    She said she spoke with the owner of the business who is already on the hunt for a new space. "She's a doer, so she's gonna find a new space to lease and start all over," Mealson said.

    Rosemary Wright owns a neighboring business, Clip and Dip, which also happens to be a pet groomer, that survived the devastation. She was lucky enough to get the green light to open for business by Wednesday, but she knows her neighbors aren't so lucky.

    "I probably just have smoke and water damage," Wright said, "I feel sorry for the girl who owns Metro Pet." Wright said she's been in contact with the owner of the other pet groomers', which was demolished, and offered her own store to work out of.

    "I don't care if it's supposedly competition," Wright said. "There's plenty of business for everyone. I would hope that someone would do that for me if I went through that."

    All of the businesses affected were locally owned small businesses. Ginger Mceacherm, owner of Five Crows, a shop a block away on Main Street, said she knows many of the owners personally. "They're friends, and I just can't imagine it's heartbreaking — all your hard work and time and energy is just gone," Mceacherm said.

    Mceacherm stood behind caution tape, watching the businesses smolder with her friend Saralynn Keller.

    "These are our people, this is our family, it's downtown Natick, we're all one big family," said Keller, who works at nearby First Congregational Church. The two said the business community in Natick is already trying to pool resources to find new and temporary spaces for the affected businesses.

    Mceacherm also offered space in her store to those affected.

    "Everyone will be somewhere, we'll make sure everybody is somewhere," Mceacherm said.

    Here are some tips on what to expect for the remainder of the week downtown:
    Coordinators post updates to the message for grooming events, members contests, Classified Ads, GroomerTALK Radio shows and Magazine online.

  • #2
    Sweet, I love community efforts.