Thursday’s downtown fire which destroyed several downtown businesses in the 200 block of Queen Street East, has remained the talk of the town.
The loss of a barber shop, hobby and comics shop and a legal office is well known, but not the loss caused to Embroidery Plus and Apparel at 232B Queen St. East, located in the rear of one of the fire-ravaged buildings.
“It’s very tragic,” said Walker Ahmed, Embroidery Plus and Apparel owner/operator, speaking to SooToday.
His business uninsured because he was renting the back of a store space, Ahmed said “I’ve lost everything.”
In a touch of irony, Ahmed said “we were actually doing the logo for the Echo Bay firefighters that day.”
“Bernice, a long time employee, lives nearby and saw the whole thing go up in flames, and you can imagine how she felt.”
However, Ahmed is a survivor.
Despite Thursday’s disastrous blaze, Ahmed wants his clients to know his business is still very much alive and able to be contacted.
Temporarily, he can get his customers products embroidered at the warehouses where the goods are purchased from, so all is not lost.
“We’re still in business,” Ahmed said.
In addition, account information for many Embroidery Plus customers, including contact information, is still safely stored on a backup hard drive, Ahmed said, adding “thanks to God.”
“We are looking for a new location…we have all intentions of getting back up and running.”
Ahmed became the new owner of the business, originally known as Memoirs Clothing and Embroidery House, upon the retirement of original owner Judy Miron in 2015.
Embroidery Plus, Ahmed said, has carried on much of what Memoirs Clothing had done for customers for 30 years, such as embroidering logos on clothing for a legion of clients, including hockey teams and other sports clubs from Blind River to Wawa and all points between, as well as the City of Sault Ste. Marie (including Sault Transit Services and Sault Fire Services) and numerous other clients.
“We’re looking for some support from the City,” Ahmed said, in terms of starting his business up again at a new permanent site.
“We have done stuff for the City for years and years. I think it’s not too much to ask at this point,” Ahmed said, adding he’s still trying to absorb all that has happened.
“I’ve gotten support from customers, I’ve received hundreds of calls, so we want to reach out to them and really need them to understand we’re still in business.”