Tanya Brown is emotional.
Who can blame her?
Just days ago, the building that houses the skin care line she launched 14 years ago at a farmer’s market was engulfed in flames.
“You picture that big wave of flames and the countless hours I spent in that place. It just shakes me up,” said Brown, the owner of Living Simply Soap at 112 E. Main St., Tipp City.
Tanya Brown is emotional, but she says she is also resolved and strong.
The former real estate agent says the Tuesday morning fire that seriously damaged the historic building she affectionately refers to as “her” and “she” does not mark the last day for her family-run business.
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“We will definitely be back. Period. Exclamation point. Heart. Smiley Face. Flexed arm muscle,” she said. “All of that.”
A message was left for the Tipp City Fire Department seeking any additional information about the fire’s cause.
Multiple fire agencies responded to the blaze after it was reported by a passerby at 5:25 a.m. Tuesday.
That morning, fire officials said flames were hard to extinguish because the building has been renovated many times and there were multiple floors to navigate to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.
Demolition and restoration work has begun at the site. Brown and her family are working with their insurer.
Brown said the support her company, employees and family has received from the community has taken her breath away.
“We had no idea how many people cared for us, and our business and our family,” she said. “It’s changed my heart. It pulls the love that you have right to the surface.
“I can’t wait to share that with someone else. Right now, all I can say is say ‘thank you’.”
The family bought a Fourth Street building last year because the business had outgrown the Main Street location. Brown said soaps and other products will be made out of that building.
The Main Street storefront will be reopened when repairs are complete, she said.
As much as she said she liked helping couples find homes in her past career, Brown said the urge to create called her.
“When I found soap making, it just took over some creative thing inside me, and I just let it go. I let go,” she said.
Brown started selling handmade soaps, lotions and other beauty supplies at a Tipp City farmer’s market in 2006.
Before finding her business’ home in Tipp City’s historic downtown in 2011, she operated the business out of the back of her husband Bud Brown’s business in Butler Twp.
Brown said her son Jake Brown is helping with the building’s restoration.
“He pretty much built that store out when we opened eight years ago,” Tanya Brown said. “She’s his baby. It is a special place.”
The shop employs six.
Brown’s son Clay Brown works at the shop full time and her daughter-in-law Ashlee Brown also plays a key role.
“Employees may not be blood, but they are family,” Brown said, pointing out that Rose Beeler and Hannah Wilson have worked at the shop from its start.
Brown said Tipp City restaurants, businesses and residents in particular and friends and fans from the community at large have been encouraging.
“I don’t know if I’ve expressed enough the strength we are pulling from the positive energy that is coming from all over the county,” she said. “The words ‘thank you’ don’t even say ‘thank you enough’.”