Brad Boehm and Brian Bixby want to make one thing very clear — they will be back open.
Watching events unfold at 10 S.W. Third St. in downtown Lee’s Summit on President’s Day was, to put it lightly, surreal.
I cannot imagine what was going through the minds of the owners of Grains & Taps as smoke seeped out of the vents on the east side of their building.
On Feb. 19, what started as a small fire above a bathroom exhaust fan escalated into smoldering in the attic, which required the help of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department.
The LSFD did what it does best — attack the heat and make sure all other structures and property were safe. During the process, some of the ceiling was torn off, which is normal, and, of course, lots of water was used inside the building.
With the fire out, the owners were left with clean-up and restoration.
The amount of visible fire presence in downtown made for a lot of chatter on social media — and personal visits after the event was summarized on Facebook.
But for good reason. Like many of the locally owned, small businesses in downtown, Grains & Taps has a loyal following. The owners understood getting the word out about happened was crucial in age of instant news and opinions.
For a few years now, the craft brew bar and home-brew supply store has been a fixture in downtown Lee’s Summit among everyone from beer enthusiasts to the casual partaker of ales, stouts and lagers. Not to mention it’s a paradise for those far more intelligent and beer-geeky than I, those tackling the art of brewing their own beer — a prideful and, sometimes, painful process that usually results in massive self-satisfaction when the batch is done.
Having an office right next door has afforded me the good grace to get to know the owners and see the positive deeds they do in and out of their business and for downtown Lee’s Summit. Often, on Sundays, they conduct fundraisers for nonprofit agencies around Lee’s Summit.
And every day, they’re pouring up a dose of entrepreneurship and humility, running a business the way it should be run, showing appreciation for their customers and constantly looking for ways to improve and expand.
Since this is their passion, the fire certainly had a devastating effect on the owners and the employees who will not be at work now for a week or two. You could see it on their faces Monday as the fire trucks pulled up, assessed the situation, ran yellow fire tape around the business and off Third Street, and had battled a fire right in the downtown core.
This building — and others in downtown Lee’s Summit — are no stranger to fire. Fortunately, we have better systems in place than we ever have that combat these unplanned and life-changing events.
As important, we work in a downtown of businesses and individuals that will always rally for a neighbor.
Within an hour or two of fire, as Brad, Brian and others were starting the process of evaluating the damage — and, honestly, just trying to take in the sheer magnitude of what just happened — several restaurant and business owners stopped by to offer help, support, dishes, anything they needed.
That’s the kind of generosity Grains & Taps has shown as a business to others and, as we will likely see unfold, the kind of caring they will see returned to them during a stressful time.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.