The Daily Northwestern

Fire fund raises $12K to support workers

A fire destroyed three Davis Street businesses Dec. 29. The Davis Street Fire Fund has raised $12,000 to support employees of the affected businesses.

Source: Giselle Coindreau on Twitter

A fire destroyed three Davis Street businesses Dec. 29. The Davis Street Fire Fund has raised $12,000 to support employees of the affected businesses.

Rosalie Chan, Reporter

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At least $12,000 has been raised to support workers who lost their jobs after a massive fire destroyed three Davis Street businesses in December.

Local restaurant 27 Live, 1012 Church St., hosted a concert Saturday to benefit the Davis Street Fire Fund.

The fire occurred Dec. 29, burning down Pine Yard Restaurant, Taco Diablo and TechniColour Nail & Day Spa.

“I came up with the idea because I was looking on Facebook, and so many people were commenting on how their neighbors lost their livelihoods,” 27 Live marketing director Nili Yelin said.  “I thought since we were a neighbor close by, and we have a stage, it would be a good idea to hold a benefit.”

More than 400 people attended the concert, and others who could not attend also donated, Yelin said.  The money raised will help pay expenses for worker’s who lost their source of income after the fire.

27 Live worked with Gina Speckman, executive director of Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dan Kelch, owner of LuLu’s and Taco Diablo, to host the event.

“When I heard the news, I thought it was a devastating thing,” 27 Live owner John Tasiopoulos said.  “I knew Dan and how hard he worked.  We’re going to do everything we can to support them and help them rebuild.”

Various Evanston businesses and organizations helped the benefit through sponsorship and donating funds and raffle items.  LuLu’s also catered the event.

“I used to work at Taco Diablo, and it was so sad,” said Rebecca Munley (Communication ’12).  “As a former employee, I think it’s amazing and shows that the community loves us.”

27 Live invited the firefighters and all the former workers at the three businesses that closed down due to the fire and gave them free entrance to the concert.

“In one moment, one stroke, they were unemployed,” Kelch said.  “We’re very grateful that the community has stood behind the businesses. We’re grateful that they put themselves out there.”

Local musical acts Steve Rashid (Bienen ’83), the Louie Zagoras Trio and Poor Man’s Cow donated their time by performing at the concert.

“My hope is that the owners of all the businesses generate enough to reopen in another location and that the staff is taken care of,” Evanston resident Rachel Sharkey said.

Kelch said he appreciated the community helping out and hopes to reopen Taco Diablo.

“It’s great that the community has stepped up,” Kelch said.  “People I don’t know have stepped up. People are volunteering their time.”

Twitter: @rosaliech1


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