Posted: Aug 22, 2013 4:09 PM by Daniel Erusha - MTN News
While the Lolo Creek complex fire is burning strong, businesses around the area are taking a serious hit.
Bonnie Watson is the owner of Crazy Horse Consignment on Highway 12 in Lolo. Her store has been closed since Tuesday, August 20th, after she had to be evacuated from her home due to the fire. She said tourist season is peak sales time of the year and the fire is heavily affecting her business.
"It's very exhausting not knowing if my house is going to burn, having lost income for three days you know it's stressful and exhausting," Watson said.
She is one of the several business owners in Lolo who have been suffering since the fire started.
Jim Fix is the owner of Auto fix in Lolo. He said much of the business he gets during the summer is from tourists and campers. There is nearly an 80 percent drop in customers since the fire started, he said.
"We are not getting any service work or calls on the phone even. I think people are just nervous or not sure what's going to happen," Fix said. "They don't know what they want to do, they are kind of on edge ready to leave or just not sure they want to spend money right now."
Despite losses in their businesses, these two owners are among several people reaching out with humanitarian gestures in these difficult times.
Bonnie Watson is offering help to people with animals in the evacuation area while Jim Fix said he can help people move larger objects with their trailer at Auto Fix.
Across the street from Auto Fix, Samantha Harris is a barista in Florence coffee and has gone up with many customers being firefighters and evacuees.
She also said customers have been donating money to give firefighters coffee.
"We have a huge tab here so all the firefighters' coffee is paid for," Harris said. "Which has been really fun to tell them their coffee is free."
The tab is at nearly $300, she said.