Owners of a Fort Greene beauty salon are attempting to rebuild their business after a fire devastated their Myrtle Avenue storefront, keeping employees out of work for weeks.
The fire broke out in the hallway of Salon Rhed on May 31, according to owner and licensed cosmetologist Keron Cumberbatch. Damages to the Black-owned business, a staple salon in the community, were so extensive he had to close the salon entirely until repairs could be made.
Painted swastikas and a fire accelerant were found inside the salon after the fire, according to NBC News. The New York City Fire Department later found the fire was the result of arson, and the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
In the aftermath of the fire, Cumberbatch said the business is focused on rebuilding as quickly as possible, as the inferno has caused a major financial setback. To help cover the costs of renovations, one of the salon owner’s family members organized a GoFundMe that has raised more $12,000 as of Aug. 26.
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“The cause of the fire is still unknown and being investigated, however it is responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage and employees being out of work,” reads a message to supporters. “We are asking for your support during this time as we work to build back the Salon Rhed that Fort Greene residents have come to love.”
“The GoFundMe was mostly to take care of the immediate expenses because of the abrupt end of business,” Cumberbatch said. “So right now we’re trying to maneuver through the reopening process and deal with the insurance company and deal with the fire department.”
Many faithful customers and community members have donated to the cause and left encouraging messages on the crowdfunding page.
“Here’s to rebuilding the salon and making new memories in the community,” wrote one donor.
While Salon Rhed has been able to offer some of its services at its second location, Spa Rhed, Cumberbatch told Brooklyn Paper that the company has seen a tremendous dip in business.
“No one really prepares you for stuff like that. It’s daunting but it’s a process. It’s overwhelming but it’s something that you have to go through,” he said. “We did have a second location on the same block that we could do some services out of but not at the same capacity that we could work in the salon.”
The business owner said he’s doing the best he can, and that he doesn’t want to lose his clientele while waiting for the business’ insurance company to complete its investigation.
“We’re just at a place of moving on,” he said. “I’m not dwelling on it.”
The New York City Fire Department and NYPD did not return requests for comment.