Weaverville – A stormy Friday evening on March 3rd of this year, a power surge caused a battery backup to catch fire in the Cottage Door, a business in Weaverville. By the time firefighters arrived, a sprinkler head in the business had done its job, releasing a shower of water and, for the most part, extinguishing the fire. While the fire suppressant device had done its job, the damage was done.
The business had to close for repairs. Smoke was the leading cause of damage, along with water, says Rachel Graves, owner of the Cottage Door, a popular consignment store in the small town north of Asheville. “The fire department said they only used 10 gallons of water” when they arrived, explained Graves. “The sprinkler did its job, maybe a little too well. Lots of water.”
Asked to describe what it’s taken to get the business back open (they reopened on Monday, April 17th), Graves said, “We’ve touched everything. It started with the restoration folks. They were here for a week with dehumidifiers and fans and ozonators getting all the moisture out. Then, we started laundering everything…anything fabric got washed or dry cleaned. We painted most of the walls. Every fixture and ceiling tile was replaced. Basically, Cloroxing the heck out of everything in here.”
While only one sprinkler head activated, it did leave an inch or two of water standing throughout the business, with the sprinkler head continuing to disperse water, said Graves. “It was a good thing they (the fire department) were here so quick.”
Rachel expressed they could have used another week to prepare before opening, but “we were getting so many wonderful calls, emails, and messages on Facebook, and we just needed to get back to normal and get back to business,” she told the Tribune.
Graves says 90 percent of her items in the store are consigned, meaning people give the items to Graves to sell, and when they do, they get paid. However, some things were lost or ravaged beyond repair by the fire, and anything that was lost in the fire has been turned into insurance, but that’s taking some time, she says, but when it’s all said and done, it will be “just like we had sold it,” she explained.
The Cottage Door opened in 2011 and has moved once in the nearly 12 years they’ve been in business, moving only a few doors down from where they were initially located. Rachel’s time in the town has not been in vain, as she has been endeared to the community over the years, and has been demonstrated by the community’s support since the fire.
Asked if the community had been supportive after the fire, Graves declared, “Oh my gosh, I mean…I worried about opening up on a Monday. We were trying to get back open last weekend…because I didn’t know if anyone would come out on Mondays, but they (customers) absolutely showed up. It was incredible. A tremendous outpouring of support from the community. We had messages, calls…We did a lot of hugging and talking on Monday!”
Rachel is a native of Buncombe County, having grown up in the Reynolds Community. “We opened the doors (of the business) when my son was born.”
“We’re open and hopefully back to normal. Everybody kept saying they were excited to see the changes we made. And we worked really hard to make it be the same,” Graves said with a laugh. She said she “appreciated all the community’s thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. We had lots of folks stop in and brought cookies and treats and snacks for the girls working. We’re just so thankful to be back and have the community support us!”
The Cottage Door is now open Monday – Friday, 10 – 6, Saturdays 10-4, and closed Sundays. They are located at 155 Weaver Blvd in Weaverville.