AVON — A longtime Avon business destroyed by fire is set to rise from the ashes.
Powers Furniture and Appliance, a mainstay store in the small community’s business district, was destroyed by a fire that started Tuesday evening, March 26. The business, in operation for 52 years at the location, was a complete loss despite the efforts of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department and supporting fire departments from around the area.
But plans are in motion to reopen the store at a new location on Main Street, according to Stacey Powers, owner of the business.
“We’re very close,” Powers said earlier this week about reopening.
A lot was lost in the March fire, both in terms of inventory and property, but also precious memories. Powers grew up and spent decades of his life working at the store. To him and the family, the fire claimed more than just a building and furniture. A piece of their history was taken away, said Powers.
“It was very tough, very tough,” Powers said. “My dad was there for 52 years every day. And we grew up there, my sister and I. My kids grew up there. It’s almost like losing a loved one.”
Losing the building, which dated back to the late 1800s, was so much of a shock that he considered closing the store for good and moving on with his life. He wrestled with the question of what to do next.
“I didn’t know at that time,” said Powers. “At that time, I thought maybe it was time to do something different. I didn’t know what my future held.”
Powers, 50, grew up working with his parents, Kenny and Florence, at the Main Street location. The time invested in the business, the emotional and sentimental attachment to the store and the cherished heirlooms that burned away weighed heavily on his mind, and he wasn’t sure if there was a future for him in the furniture business that had thrived for over half a century.
He and his family consulted with insurance companies and contemplated the future. But even with the store in ruins, he kept busy and found encouragement from the residents and business community in Avon.
“I had customers calling yet for floor covering, appliances, furniture, service work. I figured that they still want me here,” Powers said.
The support kept the idea of reopening the business alive. And after nearly six months of weighing his options, an unexpected opportunity came knocking.
Powers got a call from some local residents who operated a small recreational business just down and across the street from the previous Powers Furniture location. The business had focused on golf and archery simulators, but the owners, who worked full-time at another Avon business during the day, were looking for more free time in the evenings.
That led them to talk to Powers, he said.
“So they came to me and asked if I possibly wanted to buy this building. They were busy all day and wanted to watch their kids play sports at night and thought maybe I would like to buy the building and they could get out of it,” Powers said.
It was the right opportunity at the right time, Powers said. The building, which was built in the 1950s, is considerably newer and smaller than the old location. At 4,000 square feet, it’s a cozy fit compared to the 22,000 square feet that the store boasted before. But it was in good condition and much of the preparation work had already been done by the previous owners.
“They had a lot of it Sheetrocked and they partitioned some of the rooms in the back,” Powers said. “I did a little flooring and put a couple of bigger doors in, but otherwise they had this building pretty well all fixed up and ready to go.”
Now preparations are in full swing to reopen the business after a long summer. Powers said he has been bringing in inventory, setting up displays and generally settling into the new location.
“I had a truck in this morning and three trucks last week. We have a lot of inventory coming in,” Powers said.
Powers is spending a lot of time working and making preparations at the new location, and said he’s looking forward to a time when all three store employees -- himself, his dad and his mom -- are back behind the counter helping customers with their home furnishing needs. He hopes to continue the family tradition of working at the store by bringing his wife Julie in to help when she’s not busy substitute teaching.
As his family prepares to get back into the swing of things, he said the Avon community has continued to be a source of support since the fire struck. And they have been especially happy to hear that Powers Furniture will be back on Main Street soon.
“(The support from the community) has been very good. People have been very supportive and happy to hear it,” Powers said.
Powers isn’t exactly sure when the first day of business will be at the new store, though he is aiming to open the doors by Nov. 1. After a long summer of uncertainty, Powers said he’s looking forward to getting back business. There is still some work to be done, but for the most part, Powers Furniture is ready to return to Main Street in Avon.
And so is the Powers family.
“I’m looking forward to it. Looking forward to getting back to a normal routine,” Powers said.