The part of the roof that collapsed was in the back of the store and water traveled all the way to the front door, Decuir said.
“It looked like a river was just flowing into the store,” Decuir said.
Bernitt and Decuir have been working day in and day out to clean up debris from the collapsed roof since the incident happened. Bernitt said they finally got most of the collapsed area cleared on Saturday. There is no electricity in the store, so cleaning has been hot, humid work these last couple of weeks.
Bernitt is hoping to rally the Xenia community around Decuir and his family.
“He deserves it,” Bernitt said. “He hasn’t been able to catch a break.”
Decuir prides himself on being about to fit “almost anybody” and offering unique merchandise for his customers.
“I have high schoolers who are getting their first tux to go to prom, and then I also have a customer who is 99-years-old and he likes to have a suit to go to church on Sunday,” Decuir said.
Fast Fashions had just reopened after the coronavirus pandemic forced retail stores to close for months this spring. Decuir described the feeling of having to close up shop again so soon after reopening, as a wave of emotion, much like the wave of water that entered his store in June.
“It was like, ‘oh wow, really?’ It was overwhelming at first. I didn’t know what to do,” Decuir said. “But you have to start somewhere.”
Decuir said a lot of his inventory got wet or damp, so he has to evaluate whether or not it will be salvageable. Some of the items that got wet were part of his new spring line-up. Most of his inventory is currently sitting in storage.
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Decuir also has two employees, a seamstress and a saleswoman, who have each been with the business for at least 20 years and also worked with his father.
“The worst part about all this is our customers,” Decuir said. “My customers are like my family, this is a neat little family my dad created, and we can’t be there for them right now. But we’re definitely going to reopen.”
Decuir said he never even thought about closing the store.
“Oh, we definitely will reopen,” Decuir said. “We love this area and we don’t want to move from our spot. We can’t not open.”
Bernitt said he started the fundraiser to try to reduce the costs to reopen Fast Fashions Men’s Clothing for Decuir. Bernitt estimates that Fast Fashions will have to be closed for at least 3 months, maybe longer.
Bernitt, in his GoFundMe post, said he estimates they will need about $100,000 to help pay for what insurance won't cover.
“Funds will be used to help kick start Scott and Fast Fashions to a new beginnings,” Bernitt said.
The money donated will be used to help Decuir’s two employees, replace damaged inventory and fixtures and repair the store structure.
“Scott has never looked for any handouts. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet,” Bernitt said. “He’s kind of a staple in Xenia.”