Fire destroyed a strip mall in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Sunday, March 3, resulting in the loss of six businesses.
April Williams, who owns Sew Crazy in the mall, said she left the building around 4:30 p.m. and wasn’t even home long enough to make a coffee when she got a call the building was on fire.
“I work extra hours so I was in there all day working on things,” she said. “I had just gotten home when the manager of Eclipse (one of the other businesses in the mall) called me and said it was on fire.”
Williams said she’s still in shock about the loss of her business and doesn’t know what’s going to happen from here.
“I made it a point to not work from home and I don’t even know if I have any thread in my house,” she told The Labradorian. “Everything was there.”
Williams said she’s still trying to figure out everything she had in the store, belonging to herself and to others. She does a lot of alteration work and said she feels really bad for customers who lost things in the fire.
“There were prom dresses up there I was altering,” she said. “I know one person went to Toronto to get her dress and I was altering it and now that’s gone. I feel so bad for those girls.”
She said there were a lot of irreplaceable items in the store, including some clothing belonging to her late father she was planning on making into a quilt.
“I can’t replace that,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Williams has contacted her insurance company and is waiting to hear more from them, but she doesn’t know when she’ll be back up and running. There isn’t a lot of available retail space in town, she said, and it will be hard to find another location. Williams thanks all the customers and residents who have reached out to her with messages of support in this difficult time. She said Happy Valley-Goose Bay is a great town to do business in.
“I’ve worked in other places but nowhere is like here,” she said. “People here really support each other and care.”
One of the other businesses that was destroyed, Royal Lepage Turner Realty, was in the process of gearing up for a masquerade ball fundraiser for a local women’s shelter.
“We had everything for that in the office, it was part of what we lost,” said Karen Pomeroy, one of the two agents who worked out of that location.
The fundraiser was slated for April 13. Pomeroy said she’s not sure if they’ll be able to pull it off now. Last year was the first year for the event and they raised $8,000 for Libra House.
“Despite this setback, we’re committed to supporting women and children in our community at Libra House, we’re just not sure that we’ll be able to continue with that masquerade ball this year,” she said. “We like to put off a great fundraiser for them and replacing all that before the ball, I don’t know if that’s doable but we’ll be looking at it over the next few days.”
Pomeroy agreed with Williams that the community support has been great. She said the outpouring of messages and condolences is overwhelming.
“I really feel for those other businesses there too,” she said. “That’s a lot of jobs lost and it was a great location. I’m just glad no one was hurt.
As of Monday, March 4, fire crews were still on hand at the building putting out hot spots.