Business owners rebuilding after Hanford fire

August 20, 2012 12:39:54 AM PDT
A South Valley community is looking on the bright side and rebuilding after a devastating fire wiped out an historic building.

Demolition of that South Valley hotel is underway after a fire destroyed the building last month. Six businesses in Hanford were lost as a result of the blaze.

The building that dates back to the late 1800s is located at Irwin and Eighth Streets.

Since the fire other merchants and the community of Hanford have stepped up to help those shop owners displaced.

Demolition crews are breaking down what remains of the historic Vendome Hotel building destroyed by a fire last month.

"It was so devastating, just to sit there and watch and know there's nothing you can do," business owner Jeannine Brasil said.

Brasil is one of six business owners who lost everything in the fire.

"After the fire, the firefighters tried to get some stuff out for us but everything that they took out, it was not salvageable," Brasil said. Her boutique went up in flames in the early morning fire. She won't be able to recover the thousands of dollars worth of inventory she lost when her boutique went up in flames, but with the help of other merchants she is getting back on her feet

"It was really sweet of her to even offer it to us, and then she told us she was moving, I was 'oh my gosh, we have a home, we have a new home'," Brasil said.

Brasil now calls Stacey's Boutique her new home. The owner is sharing the space with Brasil while she moves her shop to Visalia.

Mainstreet Hanford, a downtown revitalization group, has set up a fund to give $1000 to help business owners restart their businesses.

"We're trying to assist them with relocation and some funding to get their businesses back up and rolling again," Shelly Talbert of Main Street Hanford said.

But other shops are still hurting.

"We expected starting sales would be kind of slow but not nothing like this," business owner Tom McGuire said.

McGuire opened up his gift shop four months ago, but his sales have been cut in half since the fire because of the closed roads.

He just hopes the streets open up again so there's more foot traffic.


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