After Fire, City Pledges Support to Reopen Sal’s by Victor

July 29th, 2009 by WY Daily Staff

After Fire, City Pledges Support to Reopen Sal's by Victor

The fire that destroyed Sal’s by Victor and damaged several other stores in the Williamsburg Shopping Center on Richmond Road Tuesday morning has left some 50 employees of the popular Italian restaurant unemployed.

“That’s quite a few,” Williamsburg’s economic development manager Michele DeWitt said. “Of course I talked to [owner] Victor [Minichiello] a couple times and … he’s probably still in a state of shock. [We] just assured him that the city was here to help him reopen as soon as we can.”

DeWitt and other city employees were on hand yesterday to provide support and assistance to Sal’s and other businesses. Read the story about the fire here.

Want to Help?
A fire fund account at Chesapeake Bank has been set up for the 48 employees of Sal’s by Victor. Those wishing to make a donation may do so in person at any Chesapeake Bank branch, or by mailing the donation to the bank, attention Sal’s by Victor Fire Fund, 1229 Lafayette St., Suite 202, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Checks should be made payable to the Sal’s by Victor Fire Fund.

“I spent the day there letting them all know we certainly want them to get back on their feet as quickly as possible and anything we can do, we’re happy to step up and do it,” DeWitt said. “In terms of any permits needed from the city, I mean, we’re always very quick about issuing permits in the city of Williamsburg, but we would expedite in any way we could getting through our process so that they could reopen. We also could link them with any small business resources that they need, to discuss plans or lending needs or financial needs around this hopefully short-term period they’d be closed.”

The city is also finding support for employees finding themselves out of work. The city, along with the Virginia Employment Commission and the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development, are offering help with food stamps, Medicaid, children’s insurance and even emergency assistance for rent, food and clothing.

Employees of Sal’s are likely the only ones severely affected by the fire. Employees at the adjacent Hallmark, which sustained some fire damage, will be temporarily assigned to other area Hallmarks until the store reopens.

Bloom, which is close to Sal’s but located in a separate building, was unaffected, and stores located on the far side of the pizzeria’s building, including CVS and Books-A-Million, reopened yesterday. Other businesses located closer to the fire damage, including a Radio Shack, ABC liquor store and a day spa, should reopen within a few days or a week.

The economic impact of the lost business will be small to the city, DeWitt said. Nevertheless, assisting the stores in reopening and Sal’s in rebuilding is important.

“It’s a few businesses, but it’s important that not only they reopen to provide the tax revenue, but locals love those stores, and it helps keep the shopping center vibrant,” DeWitt said. “The dollar amount is not going to be huge for the city, but still, they’re one of our assisting businesses so it’s important to us that we do everything we can to help them reopen.”

4 Responses to After Fire, City Pledges Support to Reopen Sal’s by Victor

  1. Anonymous

    July 29, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Winsor Mead , Great wolf Lodge,Busch Gardens,College of William Mary,Williamsburg Landing,Morningside assisted living, and many other places right in Williamsburg still need staff ……Hope that helps the staff of sal’s .WE are praying for a re- opening of Sal’s will be soon and the food & staff are great….

  2. Anonymous

    July 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I feel like the loss of a mom and pop place like Sal’s is much more distressing at a time like this – when national corporations and big government generally seem to be failing the American public.

    The outpouring of support from and the genuine distress caused by this event ultimately makes me proud to live in a community that actually is a community – something places like Sal’s help provide. To Victor and his employees: an expedient recovery – I’m looking forward to the reopening!

  3. Anonymous

    July 30, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Move Ace up to the front slot next to Marshalls, put Sal’s in the old Ace slot. Ace could use the streetfront visibility, and the old Ace has roughly the same sq feet as the old Sal’s.

  4. Anonymous

    August 5, 2009 at 11:30 am

    We appreciate your efforts on behalf of these businesses and the City; however, there is no mention of the wonderful and severely damaged shoe repair/tailoring shop across from Sal’s.

    This is the ONLY shoe repair shop we know about in Williamsburg and definitely one of the best we’ve ever used. We saw the owner interviewed and he and his family appear to be in dire straits. Thank you for your feedback in advance.

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