How To Help Idaho City
Several businesses in Idaho City were destroyed by a fire early Friday Morning. Sunday Morning I visited the one time largest city in the Pacific Northwest. I spoke to local business folks and here's what they said. I toured the fire area right across the street from Donna's Place. The smell of the fire was still evident as many people drove by taking pictures of the scene. I stopped into Trudy's Kitchen to speak with Trudy Jackson, who rebuilt her business after a fire destroyed it.
Is there a curse on Idaho City because of the amount of fires that seem to happen there? She responded, " I don't think we have any more fires than anyone else. It's just that we're Boise's playground and when they come up here to enjoy themselves, and then their favorite place burns down its big news. Our fires are played out in the media."
The damage is not just to the businesses that were destroyed by the fire. The local economy is dependent on the Summer tourist season. Trudy shared her concerns about the economical impact of losing several destination businesses.
"We don't do well without our Summer season. When I burned, I was up and running in four months. If I didn't get open, I knew I wouldn't make it. The Summer pays for the Spring, Fall, and Winter." She did mention the lack of snow in the last few years had hurt the area. "It's a double whammy if we get no snow and have no tourism."
Trudy has a special message to folks in the Treasure Valley. "We're still all open and we still have our historical buildings, so we're hoping that you come up to visit us."
One Idaho City business owner who is not waiting for insurance estimates is Sarsaparilla Owner Becky Gilbert. Just two days after losing her business to the fire, she's running a bake sale that the proceeds will go to reopening her ice cream show. In between flagging people off the highway, she reflected on how she heard about the fire.
"I got a call about three in the morning. I was down here in four minutes. Calamity Jane's was completely done. The flames were twenty feet high in the air. You could tell there was not going to be anything left over. It was a hard day. It's like visiting a sad site."
There have been reports that some businesses did not have insurance. Becky did have insurance on her business. However, she admits to its limits. "I did have insurance but not enough. When I first bought the shops, there was much in there. In six years time, I've acquired new equipment and more merchandise. I was not insured enough, and I think that was probably the case for the others. A learning experience, an expensive one, but definitely a learning experience."
Becky like Trudy, had one specific message to Treasure Valley Residents, " Please come up and visit Idaho City. We don't want anyone to forget us. We're all coming back, and we hope to come back bigger and stronger."