Cleveland Market Reopens Three Weeks After Fire
Clevelandâs West Side Market is open again three weeks after a fire covered the inside of the historic building in soot. Dozens of shop owners were busily prepping their booths over the weekend, scrubbing surfaces, arranging shelves and fixtures and receiving fresh orders of meat and cheese. Baked goods were being made throughout the night and into this morning. Itâs all part of the recovery effort after a fire early on the morning of January 30. Now, the operative words being used to describe the rest of the one-hundred-year old landmark are âcleanâ? and âbright.â? âIâve never seen it this clean on the inside," says Patrick Hearn, who's served customers in the building on-and-off for 30 years. "I have a new appreciation for some of the items. Like the area around the clock. And the little freezes that are in the archways. Theyâve been pretty bad for years.â? Along with the building itself looking different, many business owners followed Vince Bertonaschi: The owner of Vinceâs Meats used the down time to study, reinvent and improve his operation. âGoing to try to have a new floor put in. Got rid of a lot of things. Things that you donât think of. Fix this. Try to make things easier. You donât do that when youâre open.â? But thatâs a small silver lining after discarding smoke-damaged food, sifting through insurance paperwork, and guesstimating how many thousands of dollars have been lost. Bob Holcepl owns City Roast and says insurance will cover his lost product, but not lost wages or sales. âEverything in the market is fresh this week, for sure. âCause everythingâs been replaced. "I lost 500 pounds of tea, I lost you 240 pounds of coffee. I lost thousands and thousands of dollarsâ worth of other products and other equipment. And the frustration of not being able to serve your customers. You just want to get back to work.â? Over the weekend, customers were trying to peek through the dozens of locked doors for a glimpse of the repair efforts. James Howard works nearby and says traffic has been slow since last month. Heâs thrilled the market is re-opening, both for his business and his palette. âIâm waiting for my favorite cheese stand lady to open up. And I get some of my meats there. I like getting my cheese better there than from Daveâs. "Itâs softer, and it stays in your refrigerator a whole month without going bad. They got a lot of good fresh meat, pretty meat. And I miss getting my sweet things out of there, like brownies and cookies and things.â? Many merchants thought the re-opening would take months, and say their selection and variety might take a few days to get back to normal. No cause has yet been determined for the fire, which started at Sebastianâs Meats and spread to a neighboring stall.