After fires, Jefferson County businesses rebound

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Two Jefferson County businesses are rising from the ashes after flames consumed their buildings.

At the beginning of the year, a fire destroyed the 60-year-old Overhead Door Company of Watertown, forcing manager Andrew Garrett to temporarily move operations to a nearby warehouse. It has been a challenge.

“You’re prepared to come to work every day and do your job. Suddenly all of a sudden you have to deal with a whole mess of problems that you’re not prepared to deal with,” he said.

The warehouse stay is coming to a close. By year’s end, Garrett says Overhead Door will be back in its original location - rebuilt from the ground up with modern features. He says he’s hoping to host an open house at some point in November.

“We get to move out of this place and into that place and be in a building where we’re ready to work and won’t outgrow in 5 to 10 years,” he said.

Overhead Door Company isn’t the only business bouncing back from fire damage. Last November in the town of Champion, flames heavily damaged the Whistle Stop Tavern. It had to shut down.

Since then, owners Bri and Jim Uhlinger have been working to restore the Deferiet tavern. The interior has been almost completely redone, showing no signs of the flames that shut the restaurant down in the first place.

Owners say bringing back the Whistle Stop has been a community effort. What’s left now is some exterior work and an okay from the health department.