After a Main Street fire closed three Port Washington businesses and displaced about 50 residents, families, volunteers and entrepreneurs alike are working to get everyone back on their feet. Patch will report on new efforts as information becomes available.
When fire broke out in the building that housed Fusion Wireless on March 14, Bob Pachtman, an owner of the shop, had one thought.
“Life took priority,” he said.
“It was more important to make sure we safely evacuated out of the building” than save inventory, he said. And safely evacuate, they did, down to the shop’s saltwater fish, which now reside in a holding tank thanks to the efforts of the Port Washington Fire Department and Reefs & Rivers, a shop in Mineola, Pachtman noted.
Asked how much inventory was lost at Fusion Wireless, an authorized AT&T retailer, Pachtman said "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Ever since the fire, Pachtman, his business partner Brandon Haenel, and their team – there are six other Fusion Wireless locations in the region – have worked in high gear to reopen in Port Washington.
By Friday, Fusion Wireless had a lease for new space at 53 Main Street, just steps away from the shop’s previous space at 65 Main.
The team, including friends and family, worked around the clock, and received support from AT&T. By 10 a.m. Monday the Port Washington store was back in business, at its new location.
“We rallied together to pick up used furniture from our others stores and locations,” where they also picked up equipment, Pachtman said.
No one lost a day’s pay, he added.
“We will rebuild a bigger and greater Fusion Wireless,” Pachtman said.
Relocating near the original shop was critical, Pachtman said, so that customers could readily find the store, and have access to parking.
“We have been a staple in this community for over 20 years, and we have a huge customer following,” he said. Many of the people who come in to buy or service products, he added, are children of the parents he counts as long-term customers.
“We felt it was our obligation to commit to opening as quickly as we could to maintain that level of quality and service,” he said.
Moving forward, Pachtman said, Fusion Wireless and AT&T aim to “do everything in our power” to help the displaced who lived in apartments in the now burned-out building. Efforts will include clothing and toy drives as well as fund-raisers, he said.
The shop is in the space that once housed Salon Commisso.