GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio (WYTV) – It has been seven months since a large fire struck downtown Garrettsville. A dozen businesses were destroyed and the town is still struggling to recover.
But even with an entire block of town gone, the scenery of Garrettsville is nothing short of idyllic. The trees that were bare when the March fire clawed through the town are now bursting with color as the leaves make their way to the ground.
Like the trees, the town has seen a world of change in the past seven months, but businesses aren’t sharing in the rebirth. There has been a marked decrease in foot traffic in the town.
“There was a lot of tourism. A lot of people who came from the surrounding counties and even further away to check out the neat little shops,” said Brandi Wiles-Evans, owner of Second Style. “Saturday’s customers are the same customers you see on Tuesday and there are a lot fewer of them.”
Business owners say before the fire it was difficult to even find a parking spot on the weekend.
Nick Ehlert tends bar at Sean’s Pub. He said they still get a good crowd at dinnertime but during the day things are slow. Attorney Dann Timmons said it’s pretty much the same way for much of downtown.
“It is certainly not the same for them,” Timmons said. “We are fortunate we found another office right on Main Street and didn’t lose a lot of business.”
Timmons’ law office was one of 12 businesses that burned in the fire. He said much of what was lost was priceless.
“Right above my office was an auditorium where President McKinley and President Garfield both spoke,” Timmons said.
Everyone in town remains optimistic that things will turn around and the area will get up and running again with time.The community group Garrettsville Strong, that was founded to help raise money to rebuild the downtown, is still very active. Several events are coming up this month. For more information, click here.