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Michigan community helping businesses affected by fire


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    MICHIGAN (WNEM) — A mid-Michigan community is coming together to support its own during the holiday season.

Employees of Lula’s Louisiana Cookhouse and Lily Pearls Lounge woke up Tuesday morning without a job to go to after a fire tore through the building.

Lula’s wasn’t the only business impacted by the fire and they were not the only ones getting help from the neighborhood.

John Beilfuss is the owner and executive chef of Lula’s Louisiana Cookhouse and Lily Pearls Lounge.

“I was just in shock. You know, I don’t even remember, I barely remember coming down here now,” Belifuss said.

He received the call just past midnight on Monday about the fire.

“I was just in shock and just watching it burn, and not really knowing the extent of the damage was gonna be at that time. We really didn’t know that it was a total loss till the next morning when we came back,” Belifuss said.

This exterior is basically the only wall left and the rest is charcoal.

“My biggest concern right now is it’s Christmas time, I’ve got 20, 25 people working for me that were counting on you know their salaries, their tips, from big Christmas week here and that ain’t gonna happen this week,” Belifuss said.

One of the employees has set up a GoFundMe, which has already surpassed its $10,000 goal. The cause of the fire is still unknown, Beilfuss met on Thursday with a fire investigator and an insurance adjustor.

Lula’s had only been open for four months when the fire hit. They closed last March for the pandemic and just opened this summer.

Lula’s was not the only impacted business.

“With them fighting the fire, we had some water damage, we had some smoke damage, so currently we’re closed while the restoration company is taking care of all those things,” said Jon Moore, co-owner of Foster Coffee.

Lula’s neighbor, Foster Coffee, is going to be closed for a little bit. They decided to take their mobile cart a block down the road to fitness coliseum.

“That’s one of the things about Owosso that’s special, is our community is really tight knit. People really look out for one another. And we are generally all friends. So again, the outpouring of support for us, let alone Lula’s, has been awesome,” Moore said.

For the next month or so, Foster Coffee will operate out of the gym. While Beilfuss isn’t sure what is next for Lula’s, but he said he is not done yet.

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