Updated: 08/06/2014 11:13 PM
Created: 08/06/2014 8:36 PM WHEC.com
By: Janet Lomax
A Rochester business was badly damaged by a fire. Now, neighbors have launched a plan to help the owner rebuild her business. They are working to save what they say is the “heart of the Highland Park neighborhood.”
The work of customers has left Cailin Willey with hope for the future. On Sunday, a fire caused thousands of dollars in damage to her business, “The Crossroads Coffeehouse.”
Willey said, “We are lucky, we are just so lucky, everyone got out safe. It hurts. It was painful. I have never experienced how a fire can make somebody feel.”
People who live in the Highland Park neighborhood rushed in to help save community artwork on display. Now, they are helping Willey rebuild. Neighbors say Willey supported them in the past and they are returning the favor.
Kara Reidy-Vedder said, “They are always donating to any of the organizations in the neighborhood, be it raffles or what not, when our neighborhood association does concerts, they provide coffee.”
Kara Reidy-Vedder says that is why she and her husband wanted to help. She says Crossroads is more than a business to her family.
Reidy-Vedder said, “My husband and daughter have gone their every Saturday since my daughter was 18 months for their daddy daughter date.”
While the business has insurance, Willey learned from an adjuster that she's underinsured. To fill the gap, the Vedder family launched an online fundraiser.
Three days after the fire, they have raised more than $1,700.
Willey said, “I can't believe it. I wasn't expecting that at all and it makes me feel like this is where I need to be. A lot of people came together and it was amazing. A tragedy turned into something successful and we will rise above.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Willey hopes to have a takeout window open next month and to reopen the coffee shop in November.