James Hicks of Hicks Barbershop on devastating New Year’s Eve weekend blaze. Video by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Photo by Amelia Robinson

Multiple Oregon District businesses to be closed for months after destructive fire; owners vow to return

The smoke has cleared from a New Year’s Eve weekend fire but workers are still displaced from a popular Dayton restaurant and about a half-dozen other Oregon District businesses.

>> Salar owner after fire: ‘My heart is broken for my people’

Fire officials said the blaze that started in the kitchen of Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 E. Fifth St., caused significant smoke damage to that restaurant and nearby businesses. 

Hicks Barber Shop & Shave Parlor and Spice Paradise are among about a half-dozen businesses affected in the Emporium building at 400 E. Fifth St. 

“The experience has been pretty traumatic,” James Hicks told this news organization Wednesday. Hicks is the owner of Hicks Barber Shop & Shave Parlor. 

Hicks said Adil Baguirov, the owner of the Emporium building that houses Salar, said it may take up to three months before the impacted business can pass required inspections and reopen. 

The community has been fast to offer support to those impacted. 

Hicks said the owners of several other barber shops have offered him space to work. 

A bingo fundraiser is planned from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 8 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St., to support about 35 Salar employees impacted by the fire. 

An ongoing GoFundMe fundraiser has collected more than $6,000. 

>> RELATED: Fund set up to help those impacted by New Year’s Eve weekend blaze

Ulrike Massey, owner of Spice Paradise, said nearly her entire supply of spices will need to be thrown out due to the smoke damage. 

“There is no power. There is no heat. It was not the fire damage. It is the smoke,” she said. “They are spices, and it (smoke) changes the integrity of the spice.”

Ulrike Massey in her store Spice Paradise, 8 Brown St. in the Oregon District, started under the Activated Spaces Pop-Up project. JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer

Massey said she received a call about the fire Friday at 6:25 a.m. from 416 Diner owner Guy Fragmin, who lives above his restaurant at 416 E. Fifth St. next to Salar. 

She made it to the Oregon District from her home in Oakwood at about 6:45 a.m. 

“There was smoke billowing everywhere,” she said. “It was surreal.” 

Massey said the Oregon District is a close-knit community and she loves having her business there. 

>> You’re going to fall in love with this cheap late-night Oregon District eat 

“This is my dream and things were going quite nicely,” she said. “We’ve been here over four years. People know where we are.” 

Spice Paradise supplies products to a list of local businesses that includes Salar, Lily’s Bistro, Dorothy Lane Market, Whole Foods Market, Canal Street Arcade and Deli, Keener Farm Butcher Block and Tom’s Market in Yellow Springs. 

Massey said she is working with the Downtown Dayton Partnership to find a temporary location. 

>> Longtime Oregon District business being sold 

Several of the other impacted businesses, among them Addison Home Health ServicesThe Scenery and Canary Consulting, have found temporary locations, she said. 
Like Massey, Hicks said he plans to return. 

“I have a lot of investment here. I just renewed my lease,” he said. “I am happy with my home here.” 

We will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available. To contact this reporter, email amelia.robinson@coxinc.com.

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