Businesses reopening just days after a fire

Local News

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — They’re doing what they would want others to do for them by helping businesses re-open after devastating fires. It’s been less than a week since fire left people without places to live or work. 

It happened in the Shores Jewelry building on Broadway.

The community came together for those who lost their homes, but they’re also helping business owners. A company called Jasper Holdings is helping some of the businesses re-open. But that’s not all.

Other people in the community are also donating their resources. Just Julie’s Hair Salon called the Shores Jewelry building home for 17 years. 

When Julie Miller got to the fire Thursday night, the building was engulfed and she lost everything. Her normal drive to work takes about 10 minutes.

But she got there even faster that night, anxious to see her daughter who lived upstairs and got out safely.

“Once I got there, it hit me it was reality,” Miller says.

But the community has lifted her up. They found her a place to cut hair. She says she didn’t want to wait around to get started again.

“When I started that business, I was off having back surgery and it took me two weeks to get it up and running and this one, two days,” Miller says.

Her new spot was ready for her to get started. It already had chairs and sinks.

“Fortunately, the equipment was sitting here. This stuff has to be ordered in. It’s not sitting on a shelf somewhere,” Miller says.

A hair supply store donated other items.

“We would supply their tools for them at no charge because we know it’s been a devastating loss for them,” says Elizabeth Wilson, with State Beauty Supply.

They donated things like blow dryers and curling irons. They say they hope someone would do it for them.

“It’s good for a community to support small businesses like us because it could just have easily been us,” Wilson says.

Miller says she is more than grateful for what people have done for her.

“I would just like to thank everybody so much. It’s overwhelming but I knew I had awesome customers and I knew we had a great community but wow, they knocked it out of the park with this one,” Miller says.

Just Julie’s is one of the businesses which has relocated. At least four others had damage from the fire. One of those has also found a new space. 

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