GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Demolition equipment is back on a Wealthy Street site where fire destroyed one business and displaced another.
It has been over four months since the fire at Tatum Bookbinding at the corner of Wealthy Street and Henry Avenue SE. Grand Rapids Fire Department Capt. Bill Smith said investigators were still trying to identify a person of interest in the March 14 break-in and arson.
The vandals also tried to break into the Dime and Regal jewelry store next door, shattering the front door’s glass. The subsequent fire damaged the jewelry shop’s east wall, forcing it to temporarily move one block west into Sable Candle Co., at 620 Wealthy St. SE.
Dime and Regal co-owner Courtney Jones also owns the candle shop.
“It’s tight but it’s much better than the alternative. We’ve made it work,” Jones said.
Jones and co-owner Samantha McIntosh said moving down the street has affected business. Jones said monthly sales have averaged about 20% lower since their emergency evacuation, but the strong rebound of weddings “has been huge” and the shop is capitalizing on the emerging trend of claspless eternity bracelets, which are welded onto wrists.
The owners said neighbors and nearby businesses have also been there to help every step of the way.
“The staff from Donkey (Taqueria) and Winchester helped us move. People were reaching out. It was very supportive from the community during the whole thing,” Jones said.
Jones and McIntosh said the brothers who owned Tatum Bookbinding have even stopped in to say hello and check in on how Dime and Regal is doing. The owners of Tatum Bookbinding did not want to speak to News 8.
Jones and MacIntosh told News 8 Monday that city permit delays slowed the rebuilding process but contractors were finally on site repairing and reconstructing everything from the east wall to the building’s trusses and ceiling.
While the arson and vandalism caused thousands of dollars in damage to Dime & Regal, its owners expect insurance to cover all the costs. They said they are adding new security measures.
If all goes well, Dime & Regal will hold its grand reopening celebration in late October or early November, which will also mark the shop’s five-year anniversary.
Meanwhile, anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.