OLD TOWN — On Sept. 21, 2019, a fire tore through the heart of Old Town, destroying several buildings.
Seven people were forced out of their homes and local businesses were forced to move.
Following the fire, many businesses chose to relocate.
“I’m so happy to have a new space,” said Helen Mace, the owner of Serenity Salon and Spa. “After the fire, there’s not a lot of places in Old Town, so I am so blessed to have this place.”
Serenity Salon and Spa was just one of the businesses that left the downtown area.
Most store fronts affected by the fire are still empty.
“It’s hard to tell the direct economic impact.” said EJ Roach, economic development director for the city of Old Town. “Anytime a small business closes that means a lot for the city and lost revenue for the business itself.”
The city recently sent out a survey asking people what they’d like to see.
One of the things Roach says they’ll focus on is increasing foot traffic.
“People like the river, they want to see something done with improving the river walk, something done with the vacant space across the street and something done with the old Old Town Canoe factory site,” he said.
Roach says he’s hopeful the new music venue opening in the area will attract other businesses.
In the meantime, business owners continue representing ‘Old Town strong.’
“You just keep getting up,” Mace explained. “There’s a lot of challenges in this life and we definitely feel it. You just get up and keep moving.”