Picking Up The Pieces

Falconer Rubble Removal Awaits Approval, Pet Shop Reopening

The removal of the rubble from the former Falconer Vac Shop is waiting on the approval of the insurance company, according owner Brian Nelson. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

FALCONER — The removal of rubble from the former Falconer Vac Shop following a fire last month remains an ongoing process, according to owner Brian Nelson.

“We’re just waiting on the insurance company to OK it,” Nelson said. “I wish it was done last week. I feel bad it’s taken so long.”

The removal of the rubble is “100 percent” his responsibility, he said, and is not the responsibility of the village.

However, Nelson said he is working with the village on the development of the space afterward, which Nelson said he is willing to do “whatever the village wants to do.”

He said if another developer is interested in developing the whole block, he would be willing to look at that scenario. If not, he is interested in rebuilding.

As a temporary measure, Nelson said his plan after the clean-up is to fill the spot with gravel and set up a shed to sell polywood furniture such as Adirondack chairs and some vacuum cleaners. He said he would also carry some bags and belts, as well as continuing screen repair later on. The hope is to have a shed up and running by the middle of March, he said.

“The business is not gone,” he said. “The building is gone.”

Nelson said he is sad about what happened, especially given his history with the building. Having owned the building for so long, he said it is unnerving to look out his window and not see it.

Mayor James Rensel said he appreciates Nelson’s commitment to cleaning up the site. He said Nelson is moving at the fastest pace possible because he is a “good business owner.”

If it were simply a matter of loading up trucks and taking the materials away, Rensel noted that there would have plenty of volunteers from the community who would lend their trucks for the effort.

In the meantime, Rensel said the village is looking to create a strategic plan on what would be best for the village. The process includes applying for grants and having a study done.

“No one is interested in making this a parking lot,” Rensel said. “We want to develop it.”

As for the other pile down the street, Rensel said they are working to get the remnants from a fire last March. The issue is that those buildings were uninsured.

“We’re exploring every avenue,” he said.

One business has gotten through both the 2016 and 2017 fires in downtown Falconer. The Blue Fin Pet Shop, which is situated in between the former Falconer Vac Shop and the location of the first fire, is reopening today at 10 a.m.

Dan Magara, co-owner of the shop, said the clean up was a long process, but the end result is good. The shop has been in business just over 35 years and isn’t stopping yet.

“It was slow and hard, but we got the store up and running,” Magara said. “We’re the only ones left.”

Magara said Serv Pro came to clean the shop for about four days, and he and his wife, Sylvia, repainted it. The store is restocked and ready for business, he said.

For more information on the pet shop, call 665-3522 or stop in at 17 W. Main St. in Falconer.