[ezcol_1half]By Trevor Greenway
Every day gets easier and easier for Eli Saikaley.
April 9 marked exactly one year since a devastating fire ripped through a commercial building on Bank Street, wiping out his Silver Scissors Salon business of 36 years, his son’s taco shop that was just 36 days old and several other businesses, including Pizza Hut, Mac’s Milk, Brown’s Cleaners, and the Beaver’s Mug Café.
Even though Eli, his brother Bruce and his wife Laila reopened in a new location just 90 feet from where the former salon burned down, it’s still tough to drive past his old digs and reflect on 30-plus years of memories in the Glebe.
“It gets easier and easier every day, but it’s tough to walk away from something you spent three decades building,” said Saikaley from his new Silver Scissors Salon at 877 Bank Street.
Police say there was a large explosion inside one of the businesses in the late hours of April 9 of last year. The fire ripped through the entire building, razing it to rubble and completely gutting all six businesses. Police have since deemed the fire arson. Fortunately nobody was injured in the fire, but the blaze took its toll on business owners over the next year.
“It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. It was just such a shock. Nothing can prepare you for that,” added Eli.
But that wasn’t the only thing the Saikaley family wasn’t prepared for. They weren’t prepared to receive a groundswell of support from Glebe BIA member businesses, clients and the community, something Eli says really helped push them through the tough times of transitioning the business. It became clear that the Glebe wasn’t the same without Silver Scissors Salon.
It was important for Silver Scissors to rebuild on the same street and as soon as possible, as Eli and Bruce felt they owed it [/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]
to their committed clients who have supported the business through the good, the bad and the ugly for more than three decades.
“Our first objective was to come back to the Glebe, to be on the street,” said Eli.
“We wanted familiarity for our clients and we feel at home here. The Glebe is our home. We really feel that we are part of the community and we didn’t want to be kicked out by the fire.”
Eli added that his son’s Encino Taco Shop will also return to the same location when the new building is erected.
Building owner Robert Halal says the rebuild is “going as smooth as it can,” and although there is no firm timeline to break ground, he hopes it will be in short order.
Halal feels it’s important to get back into the community as soon as possible, to help the Glebe fight through some small growing pains and to help attract new, exciting businesses to the neighbourhood.
“We just want to make the point clear that the Glebe is a great place to do business. And to do that, you need a building,” he said.
“We are an ecosystem and we want to help drive traffic to the area. It has been very traumatic, but we have had great support from our small team, the BIA and our city councillor [David Chernushenko]. We can’t wait to get back up and running.”[/ezcol_1half_end]
Trevor Greenway is the communications officer for the Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA).