The writing and tutoring nonprofit,
"Some just were not able to re-coordinate schedules," said
But now the nonprofit is back up and running -- with a slightly different look -- in its original home on
Dozens of supporters on Friday evening celebrated the work to rebuild the area near
From a food truck, "Mr. Gyros On Wheels" sold its Mediterranean food for the party, as it does there routinely.
"Businesses are more connected; customers are more invested,"
The grass-roots recovery effort has taken shape in many ways. Artists launched a street-art project, for instance, to brighten the many storefronts covered in plywood for the construction. Proceeds from a new anthology of stories and poems, on behalf of BFI, went to the
Besides the three destroyed businesses, 50 others sustained some damage from the explosion, and more than a dozen people were displaced from an apartment building. Officials estimated the total damage from the explosion at
Jones said multiple businesses are still struggling with repair costs and replacing inventory, as well as lost revenue and income of employees while being closed. Several of the hardest-hit businesses are having issues with insurance, she added.
The bar reopened after construction in late July.
McKay, BFI'S director of strategic growth, echoed that sentiment, saying the nonprofit has paid some costs out of pocket.
"It's a long and grueling process to try and understand what insurance will cover and what they will not," she said. "We've had to try and move forward regardless of that answer from the insurance company."
Nearby, a motorcycle-clothing shop remains closed, and a catering business has only partially opened, Jones said. The bicycle shop G&O Family Cyclery, which sustained heavy damage in the explosion, is operating out of a temporary location.
As of last week, the
The after-school tutoring through BFI, formerly known as 826 Seattle, started Wednesday with the start of
On Thursday, about a dozen elementary-age children played a team-building game and meandered around the tutoring space, which is connected to the nonprofit's retail storefront.
Esquivel said some noticed differences about the renovated space. The tutoring is free, with registration required, and is one of the nonprofit's several programs. Children from all over the city and of all backgrounds participate, McKay said.
"It feels like home, whereas the other place -- we were just, you know, making it work," said
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