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Fire-damaged clothing store reopens in old digs

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By Stephen Knapp

Almost six months after fire chased her out of her attractive downtown shop, Melody Coleman’s back home, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” said Coleman, owner of Girlfriends Clothing in downtown Evergreen. “I’m just glad to be back where I belong.”

Coleman’s unfortunate odyssey began last April, when an electrical fire at the next-door Holly Berry Florist forced three separate businesses to seek emergency lodgings. While the Holly Berry and Silver Arrow Jewelers quickly settled across Main Street in the recently vacated Lauren Brooks building, Coleman’s situation wasn’t so easily remedied.

“My inventory was a total loss, but I couldn’t get more clothes from L.A. until July,” Coleman explains. “I wasn’t anywhere at all for two months, and by the time I got more stock and moved into Lauren Brooks, the only space left was upstairs. It was cramped and all broken up into separate rooms — not very good for a clothing store, but better than nothing.”

Back in her stylish corner boutique next to Bistro Blue, Coleman is pleased to point out her new carpeting, ceiling and western wall.

“They found asbestos and had to tear out that whole end,” she says. “That’s partly why it took so long, but I guess it’s a good thing they got rid of the asbestos.”

For the two other dispossessed merchants, it’s going to take a bit longer.

“We’re hoping to move back on Nov. 1, but we’ll just have to see how the construction comes along,” says Holly Berry owner Pam Gilbert. For now, the florist and Silver Arrow will continue sharing the spacious brick building’s ground floor, and that suits Gilbert just fine.

“In the meantime, this is a great location.”

Contact staff writer Stephen Knapp at stephen@evergreenco.com or 720-261-1665.