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Hit by fire, businesses move, reopen

It's been almost three weeks since a building fire destroyed four Detroit Lakes businesses, but Jay Schurman said it seems a lot longer than that.

Schurman, owner of the West Lake Drive building that housed Jay Schurman Photography Studio, The Baby Bin, Center Stage Dance Academy and b. Salon, plans to rebuild. But for now, he and the other owners have been trying to recover from the Dec. 17 fire that destroyed everything.

"We wouldn't start booking customers again unless we were confident that we had all the tools to get the job done in the same manners that we had previously," Schurman said.

Over the past couple of weeks, he's been gathering up some props, chairs and studio lighting to replace what's been lost, though it's going to take a lot longer than two weeks to get back what's been years in the making.

"It was many years of collecting, from going to antique places and flea markets, it's something that you can't replace overnight," Schurman said.

He said he's about one week away from being ready to do photo shoots again at his new temporary location just down the road -- his home in the Chesterfield neighborhood.

All of his camera equipment was destroyed in the fire, and he's working on getting some new equipment to "do the job right."

"It's one of those things, you're not gonna have a chance to replace everything that was there and all you can do is start over," he said.

Schurman has been the owner of the building for four years. After looking around for a replacement, he said nothing compared to the old building which is why he decided to rebuild this spring.

The fire also destroyed The Baby Bin, a baby clothes and toys boutique that Schurman's wife, Leah, opened in November.

The future of The Baby Bin is still unknown at this point.

"We have to wait to build, there is no place to put it, there's not much we can do right now," Schurman said.

As for the other businesses lost in the fire, b. Salon's owner, Sarah Badurek, is now sharing a chair part-time at Studio 59, while Center Stage Dance Academy's Ronita Hackel is leasing the former Caulfield photography building.

After a three-week break, the dance academy's 130 students will be back in class on Monday.

Hackel said the Caulfield location, which is about the same size as her former studio, has been in remodel mode for the past week.

"(The fire) kind of brings along a lot of changes, but we plan to keep everything as close to the same as we can," she added.

Although the painting has been done and the dance floor will be ready for dancers by Monday, Hackel said a few minor adjustments will be a work in progress after classes resume.

Center Stage Dance Academy has leased the former Caulfield studio building on Highway 10 East for the next two years.

Schurman said he will rebuild the same size building as before for future business opportunities.

Badurek said she quickly wanted to get back to work and is not sure where and if she will re-locate in the future.

"We were contemplating opening back up," she said, adding that it would take a while to open a new business, but for now, "I want to keep my clients, and this is the best fit for me."

The official report from the state fire marshal is not complete but the fire is believed to have started in a furnace room on the second floor of the building.

Schurman's phone is still ringing with calls from many members of the community offering support.

"It's nice to be in a small community where people care," he said. "I can probably speak for all of us, for all the four business that were there, and say thanks to everyone for all their thoughts and prayers through all of this."