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Silverton starts fundraiser to help destroyed businesses

Lone Spur Cafe will host event to support those affected by May 20 fire
Eagle's Nest Leathers shop in downtown Silverton caught fire on May 20. The fire has resulted in damage to two other businesses. (Courtesy of San Juan County Office of Emergency Management)

A spaghetti dinner will be held later this month to benefit the businesses affected by a structure fire May 20 in Silverton.

The fundraiser will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. June 22 at the Lone Spur Cafe at the Grand Imperial Hotel. It will cost $18 and all proceeds will go to the businesses that were impacted by the fire.

DeAnne Gallegos, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management in San Juan County, helped set up the fundraiser.

“We’re hoping to raise even a minimum of $10,000. And that’s not a lot for these businesses,” she said. “But to be honest, the real work will need to be done once their insurance companies are finished investigating. Once that happens, that’s when I think we’ll go after more legitimate sources to get them back into business.”

A raffle will also be held over the next three weeks involving gift cards from local businesses to help raise money for the cause.

The fire broke out around 6:45 a.m. May 20 at the corner of 12th and Greene streets, leaving multiple businesses damaged. The cause of the fire has yet to be discovered, but an investigation is underway.

The business owners affected remain in limbo and have been forced to close as a result of the damage.

Eagle’s Nest Leathers has lost its merchandise and the interior of the building is destroyed as a result of fire damage, while K&C Traders sustained water and smoke damage. Henry Smith’s Gift Shop lost its entire inventory from the fire, which Gallegos says could be worth thousands of dollars.

“All three of those businesses are currently not able to operate,” she said. “Let’s be honest, we are a summer economy. We’ve got five months to make 12 months worth of money.

“Although, Henry Smith’s didn’t have water damage, she’s going to have to completely restart her 30-plus-year-old business from scratch,” she said. “And so until they get through the insurance process, and can reinvest in themselves, they’re at a standstill.”

One of the major issues facing the businesses is a lack of temporary facilities from which they can operate. Because Silverton does not have the infrastructure to move businesses to different locations, they must remain closed until determinations have been made by insurance companies. However, K&C Traders was able to move to a temporary location.

“K&C Traders lucked out and were able to move across the street into the Grand Imperial,” Gallegos said. “So hopefully, they can go back into business sooner rather than later.”

She said in addition to damaging businesses, the fire affected the legacy of those businesses. Eagle’s Nest Leathers has been in Silverton for more than 30 years, and the emotional damage can be just as devastating as the physical damage.

Gallegos asked Durangoans to continue to visit Silverton and support the economy.

She said Durango has always been supportive of Silverton during times of adversity, including the 416 Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Keep us on your radar and come up to enjoy the cooler temperatures,” she said. “Come for a hike or bike. People are starting to kayak the upper Animas. Support all of the Silverton businesses.”

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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