Garrettsville community comes out to plan rebuilding

GARRETTSVILLE -- A packed high school gym was full of cheers Monday night, but not for a Garrettsville sports team, for the team of business owners ready to rebuild after Saturday's devastating fire.

"I was looking out there and saw the guys that come in on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee," Tom Mesaros, owner of T&B Tools, which was destroyed, said. "It makes you want to open your doors tomorrow, it really does. It's really something else."

Mesaros won't be able to open T&B Tools tomorrow, but, with the help of his wife and fellow business owners, things are already looking up. Hundreds of people -- from city leaders to friendly neighbors -- showed up to offer support at the meeting at Garfield High School.

"There's a lot of questions, a lot of red tape," Brenda Mesaros said. "It's been trying. It's been sleepless, but it's getting better, it is."

Getting better and getting answers for the 13 businesses destroyed, the meeting was a chance to cut some red tape and get help with insurance and financial questions.

"I'm 61 and thinking I'm on the end, and now I got to start all over," Jim Reppy, owner of Barber of G-ville, said. "That's kind of daunting, but you got to do it."

Reppy lost his shop after 25 years, but he's already looked at a new space nearby. In the meantime, the school district announced space is available free of charge in one of its buildings, and community volunteers are busy with fundraisers and rebuilding efforts.

"Whatever it takes to get Garrettsville back on its feet and get our little main street going, (I'm) happy to do," Debbie Kostrub said.

"I've lived here all my 87 years," Richard Davis said. "It brought tears to my eyes, but they'll come back. It's a great little town."

They're Garrettsville Strong, and the team is ready for a come back.

"In one way how tragic it is, but in another way it's a blessing," Mesaros said. "Because it takes something bad to make something good."

One of the property owners has already drawn up plans for a new building.

One fund has been set up now for rebuilding efforts called Garrettsville Strong, and there are several major fundraisers in the works.

A T-shirt sale is already going strong, and a big talent show is hopefully planned for early April. All proceeds will go to the Garrettsville Strong fund.


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