Local leaders and community members are coming out in support of Frager's Hardware. The 93 year old Capitol Hill institution was devastated by fire this week. The city is now working to help the owners open pop-up locations, and keep the revenue coming in.
Owner John Weintraub, who has run the store since 1975, is promising to rebuild but there is a long road ahead. The historic store along Pennsylvania Ave at 11th Street SE was gutted by flames Wednesday. Two firefighters sustained minor injuries, but non of the store's customers or staff were hurt. The cause is still under investigation.
Many of Frager's plants and some yard equipment survived the fire. They're now for sale at the pop-up version of a garden store. Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, helped cut the ribbon Sunday afternoon. Dozens of customers turned out to purchase plants following the ceremony. The pop-up is located in a space along 7th Street SE that formerly served as the foundation for the temporary location of Easter Market after it was damaged by a fire in 2007.
Weintraub is planning to open additional pop-ups around the neighborhood until the store can be rebuilt. He says he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community. "People have been hugging me on the street, it's been wonderful," said Weintraub. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation is collecting donations, and the city is working to help Frager's 65 employees collect unemployment insurance.
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