Two Downtown Charlevoix Businesses Destroyed, Several Others Damaged By Fire

History, up in smoke.

Just a mess in Charlevoix, where fire ripped through downtown businesses.

Four different departments used more than 100,000 gallons of water to put the fire out.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader was at the scene a short time after it started Sunday.

Five or six buildings are damaged, and two of those businesses are destroyed.

Things were so bad at one point US 31 had to be shut down.

An excavator was brought in to tear off part of Johan’s Cafe to try and stop the fire.

It was destroyed, along with the Round Lake Gallery.

Several apartments were also damaged, but no one was hurt.

The community says the fire not only destroyed the businesses, but also a piece of history downtown.

“I’ve been really trying to gauge what the impact will be and has been and will be in the future for that block,” says Dennis Halverson, Chamber of Commerce chairman.

The downtown Charlevoix community is wondering what’s next after a fire destroyed Johan’s Cafe and Round Lake Gallery and damaged four more.

 “Without a doubt it’s a kick in the gut to downtown. It’s a close-knit group of people downtown, and just being a retailer in a Northern Michigan town requires a high level of resiliency,” explains Dennis.

The Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce chairman says these businesses are already about to go into the slow winter season, and something like this is devastating.

 “A lot of things insurance money can’t replace. I’m in those stores weekly. I know the people, the creaky wooden floors, those things that you don’t get when you walk into a mall anymore,” says Dennis.

It’s not only devastating from a business perspective, but also to the people who have been in the community for years.

 “I used to come up every summer and moved up in ‘80 and seen the town change over the years, and it’s just sad,” says long-time resident, Cindy Urban.

They hope to see the businesses bounce back.

“I just hope that the businesses can rebuild and be back and opening in as short as time as possible,” says Minnie Houtman.

At this time, it’s not clear what the future holds for these businesses.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Round Lake Gallery.