Future of businesses on the ridge

As businesses begin to make their way back to the ridge they know they have a big mountain to climb.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 10:21 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - As businesses begin to make their way back to the ridge they know they have a big mountain to climb.

And while they say business has been up and down, they're in it for the long haul,  hoping to rebuild their community.

"So far it's been – I can't complain I mean you look around and think – lucky to be in business so," owner Rich Colgin said.

Paradise Bikes was one of the first businesses to open after the Camp Fire.

"And I opened on the 21st, so cause basically the only thing here was it smelt like smoke and there was some ash under the front door that came under the front door and that was it," Colgin said. "So I just was door open and back door open and aired it out."

Colgin said that first weekend before Christmas– business was booming.

Many families came in to replace bikes lost in the fire.

"Because it was so busy it was like alright this is going to work for a while so we'll see how it goes," Colgin said.

Before the Camp Fire the shop was repairing more bikes than selling new ones.

"I mean we did sell new bikes but we didn't sell as many new bikes so – which is great but everybody is going to have a new bike soon and I don't know how many we're going to be repairing with the limited population so," Colgin said.

Colgin said the crews cleaning and clearing the town are keeping his business above water.

"They see bikes out front of the shop and they stop in and buy a part or a shirt or a hat cause it says paradise on it," Colgin said.

Colgin told Action News Now he's not too worried about business after they leave.

"After debris removal workers it's going to be loggers and after loggers, it's going to be construction workers and after construction workers, there will be all new places to live and there will be residents again," he said.

Colgin is hopeful for the future of his business.

"I plan to stay I plan to be open the whole time I don't plan to go anywhere – it's just *crosses fingers* – see how it goes you know that's it," Colgin said.

"It's definitely been little bumps in the road and definitely hesitations but I've never felt strong than I do now about staying open," Christina Burton, owner of Positive-i Yoga Spa said.

Burton reopened four months after the Camp Fire.

"It was a slow start there was not as many people in town," Burton said.

Before the fire, the studio had 300 dancers, now they have only 30.

"And so it made me confused do we open back up do we not is it worth it," she said.

Through the darkness of doubt and hesitation, Burton realized how much people are in need of a place to heal.

"Positive-i means connecting with your positive energy within that's what I created 10 years ago and I stay true to that," she said. "That's my purpose to share love, be love and inspire people to feel better."

Burton told Action News Now seeing town's progress every day keeps her motivated.

"Definitely the past couple months I've realized we have to be open there's more people moving back and even if there's 20 kids of 10 adults that want to come and take classes here it's worth it," she said.

"Smoker's Paradise is more than a smoke shop because of what we do here. this is community this is family," employee Deb Tastet said.

Tastet has worked at Smoker'sPparadise in Magalia for 8 years.

"I'd rather lost my house than this shop," Tastet said. "Don't confuse where I work at with the character and the people involved in it. We do a lot of good."

The smoke shop reopened about a month after the Camp Fire.

"My boss let me open the doors way before I should've just so I can come in here and be with the store and the people," she said. "We were just sitting out front we weren't doing anything just being here.

Not only did they open their doors for business, but they opened their arms to their community.

"Food, clothes, blankets, shoes, right out here we put it on the newsstand and if you needed it you were welcome to take it," Tastet said.

Tastet makes every customer feel appreciated and important.

"This is the heart of Magalia, it really is and I'm going to choke up over that… we've helped so many over the years even before the fire. This town don't have a lot but I've seen the poorest of the poor share," she said.

And the smoke shop still collects donations for people in need.

"They know if they're hungry we'll feed them if they're cold we'll find a coat if they're dog needs food they'll do it," Tastet said.

Tastet told Action News Now because of the relationships with the customers, their business has been able to stay afloat after the Camp Fire hit their community.

"It's tough times these days and all we got is each other and this little store can do," she said.

And it's that can-do attitude they hope will rebuild the ridge.

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