KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The New Dime Store in Brookside is full of nostalgia. It has just about anything anyone could need at any given time. And it's been around since 1939.
"I walked in the door, and I'm like, I'm never leaving this place. So that's where it all started," Kim Harris, the owner, said.
Harris and her husband bought the store in 2011. Every holiday season, the store is busy with loyal shoppers.
"This is like the final week of the Christmas push," Harris said. "People wanting to come in and just get those last minute – I just need one more thing. And one more thing turns into 10 more things."
After a fire Tuesday morning, the store is closed and the smell of smoke still lingers.
"So missing that last-minute push is just killing me right now," Harris said.
Harris now is calling insurance companies, sifting through smoke-damaged inventory and trying to find a glass company to replace her front window two days before Christmas.
Harris wasn't there when the fire started, but her neighbors at the Brookside Barber Shop and the jewelry store didn't think twice about helping.
"We called 911. I took a hammer and broke out the window and the girls started filling up trashcans with water and we started pouring that on the fire," Josh Gilbert, manager at the Brookside Barber Shop, said. "And Carl Cuda, the jeweler, he came out with a fire extinguisher and started spraying the fire while we were pouring the water on it."
Fire officials told Harris it's possible that sunlight hit an object in the display window just right to cause the blaze.
On top of the fire, she said, her sales already are down 30% this year due to COVID-19. But she still manages to laugh.
"Somebody said to me, 'The fire sale was not a good idea,'" Harris said. "I'm like, 'You know, you're right. It was not a good idea. Scratch! We are not doing that ever again. Note to self!'"
The Brookside business community created a GoFundMe to help her reopen and already has surpassed the $5,000 goal.
"We all stick together down here, look out for each other," Gilbert said. "I've been here 18 years, so I know all the store owners and all the employees. So just looking out for one another, doing what we can."
People stopped by to give Harris gift cards, buy dinner or t say how sorry they are and how much they love the store.
"It's almost too much, it's too much. But I'm grateful, I do appreciate it," Harris said. "I understand what it means to people, and I want to do my best to keep it going and be here for them so they can still have that feeling for generations and generations to come."
Harris said she hopes to reopen by next week.
"I don't think I could do anything else," she said.