The community is coming together to help two small business owners move past a fire that destroyed a large part of their building.
Pat Malone and Lynne Hosid have owned the Ten of Arts store in Carrollton’s historic downtown square for 34 years, but they experienced quite the setback in March. The store’s air conditioner started a fire that damaged the roof, merchandise and the back portion of their store.
The largest setback for the two is the fact their insurance company won’t accept their claim and pay for the damages due to an error made on their insurance forms. It was stated they had sprinklers, when in fact they did not.
Malone said it could take more than $140,000 to replace everything including merchandise, fixtures and electricity. In addition, the two have to find a way to fix the air conditioner before the summer months hit.
“Lynne and I just don’t have the money for that,” Malone said. “I’m putting three through college, and our husbands are retired. We can’t use all of our retirement money on this.”
The amount is more than the two can afford, but community members and friends are not letting them go down.
Malone said shortly after the fire a group of community members came to help clean up the aftermath. Even a couple of council members have stopped by to offer their assistance. A PayPal account has been set up for them to help raise money for the damages. More have stopped by to give hugs and words of encouragement.
“I’m so grateful ... for the support of people’s hands, hearts and their wallets to help us,” Hosid said.
Malone said the support they’ve received from the community has been humbling.
“It’s hard for me to accept things and people to give to me,” she said. “I had no idea they were going to do that. They’ve been coming in here ever since the fire to check on us, and they keep coming back.”
Hosid said people are constantly asking what more they can do, but neither she nor Malone know what to do themselves.
“I don’t know what to really do anymore,” Malone said. “... It makes me crazy feeling helpless.”
Malone said the next step is to get the air conditioner working again. Its possible the two may take their insurance company to court. Until then, the two are hoping things will work out, and they know the community has their back.
“There are no words,” Hosid said. “It’s all the emotion that’s directed to us that keeps us going and wanting to continue. You can’t put a value on that."