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Business owner talks about coming back to the Ridge

Seven months after the Camp Fire, only about one out of 10 residents have returned to Paradise. While the desire to recover is strong, the realities can be a challenge for business owners.

Posted: Jun 3, 2019 10:49 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2019 2:30 PM

PARADISE, Calif. -Seven months after the Camp Fire, only about one out of 10 residents have returned to Paradise. While the desire to recover is strong, the realities can be a challenge for business owners.

"I was so excited that the building was still there. I can remember running out to the garage to show him the picture, look, it's still there," said Debbie Andres, the owner of Debbie's Quilt Shop in Paradise. 

A burning tree crashed through Debbie's Quilt Shop of 16 years when the Camp Fire broke out.

"Even though there was a lot of destruction I was still thankful it was still there," Andres said. 

It was a close call, but not a total setback.

"Because it actually gives you something to build on, something to start with," Andres said. 

Andres said heavy rain during the fire seeped onto her products because of the hole in her roof.

She lost about a quarter of her product and had to close for months. Thanks to the help of volunteers, she was able to move into a space a few doors down from her old shop and open in March.

"I've been lucky that I've gotten a lot of business and people say they want to support me," Andres said. 

But she still has her concerns.

"There is a slight fear, what if people stop coming," Andres said. 

But it's a risk worth taking, she says.

"I want to be here and I want to have this business so I hope it works," Andres said. 

She says small business owners on the Ridge share this attitude.

"I think you see that in the coming back. They had a business before and they have that drive to get it going again," Andres said. 

The Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce said 150 businesses have reopened on the ridge. The Chamber of Commerce has several events coming up, you can find more about this here. 

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Dry weather, sunny skies, warmer temperatures, and gusty north winds will drive elevated fire danger today. We'll have even stronger winds, but cooler temperatures on Tuesday. Fire danger will remain elevated. There will also be a chance for light showers in the Sierra on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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