‘We will rebuild,’ says business owner after warehouse fire destroys inventory

Local News

The fire tore through three warehouses in Austintown Wednesday, taking out up to $150,000 of merchandise

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A business owner who took a significant hit after a fire destroyed much of his company’s inventory said they will rebuild.

The fire tore through three warehouse buildings on Hendricks Road in Austintown Wednesday. Two of those buildings housed inventory for Ideal Store Fixtures.

“We got a phone call from the truck driver that normally hauls for us that the wires had come down on our off-site storage facility and the building was on fire,” said Ideal Store Fixtures owner Jim Miketa.

The driver was leaving the building when he pulled down live power lines, sparking the fire.

“The driver happens to be a personal friend and he’s been in and out of that facility hundreds of times, so he was totally aware of his surroundings,” Miketa said. “We don’t know if the heat caused the wires to sag or what the situation was, but I emphasize it was 100% an accident.”

The warehouse was used as off-site storage for all of Ideal Store Fixtures’ used retail shelving, which makes up about 70% of its revenue.

“We’re currently doing inventory assessments right now,” Miketa said. “We’re estimating between $100,000 to $150,000 worth of equipment.”

To make matters worse, Miketa said they had been closed for six weeks due to COVID-19.

“This sure didn’t help matters much. We were seeing an uptick in orders and things were starting to get back to normal, but we’ll see where we go from here.”

Even though the fire destroyed the company’s warehouse and a lot of its inventory, Miketa said the main office has not been affected and they’re still up and running.

“We’re 100% operational, business is as usual. We’ll do what we have to do to fill our obligations to our customers that we lost merchandise to, but we will rebuild. We’ve been in business for 39 years and we don’t plan on going anywhere.”

He said they do have insurance but they don’t yet know how much will be covered.

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