‘Garrettsville Strong’: Campaigns Created to Rebuild Downtown

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GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio — Nearly one-third of downtown Garrettsville was destroyed Saturday by a fire.

Sunday afternoon, the smell of smoke still filled the air, as residents came out not only to see the damage, but to see how they could help.

“This is small town America at its best,” said Michelle Zivoder, who not only serves on the Chamber of Commerce, but owns Villager Printing.

Among the 13 businesses destroyed were a used-furniture shop, a craft shop, a clock repair business, a podiatrist and two attorney’s offices.

Already, groups and organizations from all over Northeast Ohio are pulling together to help rebuild the downtown.

Zivoder wasted no time putting together the #GARRETTSVILLESTRONG logo, which will soon don tee shirts to raise money for the recovery.

The shirts haven’t even gone to the printer yet, and already she is swamped with orders.

“We have people who’ve contacted us from Texas, from Florida, who grew up here. And they’re ordering shirts and asking what they can do,” Zivoder said.

Much of that effort is aimed at helping the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard—one of the 13 businesses reduced to ashes.

Nearly 250 area families rely on that food bank.

That’s why businesses like the Time Out Sports Bar and Grille took matters into their own hands, collecting donations of money and food and even offering up their own space for storage.

“It’s been such an outpouring that (the customers) wanted to do something, get something started, and it has just taken on a life of its own,” said the bar owner, Scott Ballentine.

The Garrettsville Cub Scouts did their part for the pantry, manning stations at two local grocery stores.

“We’re just helping to fill up whatever we can so that they can continue to serve the people that they serve,” said Cub Master Dave Shaefer.

The Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce has created a webpage where links to several efforts have been collected.

A Facebook page has also been created: Rebuild Garrettsville, where anyone is welcome to offer their volunteer services or ideas.

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