Shortly after 6 a.m. last Thursday, December 17, 2020, the owners of the Me Salon & Day Spa, Stephanie and Stephen Henderson were notified that their business was ablaze. Not the kind of wakeup call any business owner ever wants to get, especially this close to the holidays. The salon is located on South Main Street in Simpsonville and adds to the down-home southern charm of Simpsonville’s downtown business district. The Simpsonville Fire Department was able to respond quickly and battle the blaze along with assistance from the Fountain Inn and Mauldin Fire Departments, however, the building has been declared a “total loss”. This is a devastating and life-altering event to any business on a normal day, never mind in the year 2020 with the Covid impact on small businesses in recent months intersecting with this very important time of the year as well.
How to help
Though the cause of the fire is yet to be determined it appears it may have started on the second floor of the salon. The salon was not the only business to suffer loss from the fire, the Exchange Co. Coffee Bar & Bake Shop, a small coffee house whose menu offerings include a variety of coffee drinks, crepes, breakfast bowls, and more—were also impacted.
Tragic for not only the business owners and their families, but also their employees and customers as well. The story of this tragedy could be chalked up to another cruel twist of fate 2020 has brought into our lives, except for the fact that it happened in small town Simpsonville where the community is family. True as the tea is sweet, and a “bless your heart!” is sure to be heard in these parts, the community has responded with support in a big way. Soon after the totality of the situation was known a Go Fund Me page was set up to help the stylists and employees of the salon. Kaitlyn Henderson, daughter of the salon owners, set up the campaign (https://gofund.me/4d77fcbd), with a goal of raising $20,000. As of the writing of this article (December 22, 2020) the campaign has raised $23,538 and is continuing to see contributions coming in from the community and surrounding areas. To put this amount into perspective, it is going to help 22 stylists who work out of the salon. Each stylist has lost an estimated minimum of $1000 in products, equipment, and income opportunities.
Today a local business owner Ghazi Farhan, owner of Franks House of Pizza in Fountain Inn, jumped in to help support the Exchange Co. by offering a free pizza to anyone who buys a $25 or greater gift card from the business. Since the business has had to close with no official date of when they will be able to reopen online gift cards have been a tangible way to keep the business going through this trying time. Many on Facebook have responded by purchasing gift cards online and sending words of appreciation for Farhan’s leading in supporting another area business.
In a lean year for many, the spirit of “neighbors” and “hometown” is very much alive and well as evidenced through this hardship. Yes, in a time where it might be easier to shake one’s head and give a “that’s too bad” people are rallying to help each other. Area business owners, stylists, salons, customers, friends, and families have all stepped up to not only donate products, monetary support, and buy gift cards, but have reached out with words of support, encouragement, and very much appreciated prayers. This story kind of hit me as the real-life parallel to the ending of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, when the town came to the aid of George Bailey—except this isn’t Bedford Falls or the Building and Loan…no, this is Simpsonville, South Carolina and one of our salons and coffee shop neighbors—and when you live and work here it’s easy to understand why you are Simply Home in Simpsonville!
Merry Christmas Upstate! Despite a year like any other, it’s still a wonderful life!
If you wish to help contribute to either of these impacted businesses, you can find out more information at these links:
Me Salon & Day Spa– https://gofund.me/4d77fcbd
Exchange Co.: http://exchangecocoffee.com/gift-cards
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