CHICAGO (CBS) — Businesses burned down in a huge fire last week in Oak Park are getting a helping hand to bounce back.
The community is now rallying around those who’ve lost everything. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports from Oak Park where there are now stories of hope.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
Polished Nail Salon and Day Spa has been on Lake Street in Oak Park for 14 years. A sign on the door says “Not Approved for Occupancy, Uninhabitable.” Well, there are many in the community who want to see that change after a fire closed this business.
When Nina McCaffrey saw her beloved business burning last Tuesday, she wasn’t thinking about her own livelihood, but about her employees.
“They’ve been working for me for over 10 years, and they do have family. And it’s a holiday time. How are they going to provide for their family,” asked Nina McCaffrey of Polished Nail Salon and Day Spa.
McCaffrey’s 14-year-old son Kenneth was thinking about the employees too. He set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $12,000 for the Polished staff. He’s almost met that.
He said on the page he’s devastated to see that all of the staff members that have been with his mother for over 10 years could be jobless for months.
“They are like family to me. Without them, I wouldn’t have this business,” McCaffrey said.READ MORE: Upcoming Report From Northwestern Medicine Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
While Nina and her son are thinking about her employees, Lita Selmon, the owner of Einnim Candle Bar and Apothecary is thinking about Nina.
Nina’s business had about $100,000 in damage from the fire. This coming Monday, December 6th from 10:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, Selmon is hosting a fundraiser at Einnim, which is just doors down from Polished. All sale proceeds are going to help Nina get back on her feet.
“We are all a family here. It just broke my heart to see this,” Selmon said. “She’s such a great asset to the community and such a wonderful soul and wonderful heart.”
“The support around here, the community, they pour their heart and soul to me. They want to keep me around,” McCaffrey said.
Polished, along with Delia’s Kitchen, are now closed after the fire. Four apartments are also a total loss. Sam Yousif is the Vice President of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce. Yousif said services like legal and insurance consultations are being offered to those in need.
“In theses times of crisis, it really becomes what available resources are there available for you. You may not have the financial resources. But the chamber can offer resources that may not be financial related, but they can be definitely be supportive and helpful,” Yousif said.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Seriously Injured After Shooting In Roseland
The cause of the fire that left Polished and Delia’s Kitchen, right next door closed, is still undetermined. Oak Park Fire said it’s waiting for the insurance company to finish investigating. Meantime, Nina said she hopes to reopen at another location in the community by February.