A year later: Businesses continue recovery after Carpet Mania fire

A carpet store owner who watched his business burn to the ground a year ago now has plans to rebuild.

Carpet Mania owner Clinton Mann plans to rebuild on the site in the 1400 block of 10th Street, after spending a year in temporary quarters.

The Jan. 24 fire last year resulted in $2 million in damages, leaving charred rubble piled over a 2.34-acre lot near downtown Columbus.

The fire started in Carpet Mania’s warehouse at about 12:25 p.m. and spread to the Deathproof CrossFit fitness center, which was located in the same complex at 1428 10th St. The cause of the fire was listed as undetermined by Columbus fire investigators, who said the massive fire’s destruction made it impossible to determine how it started.

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Mann relocated his business to a temporary location at 2258 Cottage Ave., where he has been for the last six months. He has no timeline as to when construction could begin on a building to replace the former Carpet Mania.

One of the reasons for the delay is a lack of availability for contractors who have been approved by Mann’s insurance company, he said.

Estimates and drawings are still being put together for the project, he said.

Mann said he won’t need all the space on the 10th Street site, and is looking for a potential tenant to lease a portion of the new building, hoping to build to suit for any potential tenant.

Fencing still surrounds the area where Carpet Mania once stood and a sign for the business remains visible. The business had operated at the 10th Street location since 1999, Mann said.

“At this point, we’re just going with the flow,” Mann said. “It’s been a very challenging year as far as putting everything back together.”

Mann said he has received a great deal of support from the community over the past year, noting that his focus was to keep all of his accounts going. Communication is ongoing with his insurance company in the aftermath of the fire.

“You never ever expect something like that to happen,” Mann said. “I’m excited to have a new building put up.”

Mann said he read online that only 10 percent of businesses survive a catastrophic fire such as what happened to Carpet Mania, and he hopes to be among that 10 percent.

Through the past year, Mann said he has rebuilt his inventory to about 35 to 50 percent of what he had at the time of the fire, and hopes to increase that in the coming year.

He is also continuing to replace the tools and equipment for carpet installation that were lost in the fire.

Mann said it feels nice to have a place to run his business at Cottage Avenue, including having a showroom and a warehouse, and additional storage space in another building for inventory. He is hoping to increase his customer base in the coming year.

A new location

Deathproof CrossFit, which has since changed its name to Trionic Functional Fitness, has also found a new location in Columbus.

It moved into an 8,000-square-foot space at 3345 Commerce Drive near Indianapolis Road and U.S. 31 in September, owner Jase Robinson said.

Robinson said he and his partner, Audra McNear, looked at about 15 different locations in the area before finding the current building.

“We found that we were resilient as we needed to be,” Robinson said.

They also received plenty of community support after the fire, including money contributed to a GoFundMe account, Robinson said.

“That was phenomenal,” Robinson said.

Since opening Trionic Functional Fitness, every aspect of the business been tweaked from the type of equipment being offered to different programming, Robinson said. Among the new programs includes classes three days a week for clients with Parkinson’s disease.

“What you need is absence of the negativity,” Robinson said. “It goes back to that old adage the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Back to existing offices

A third company, Advantage One Imaging Center, was displaced for six months as a result of the fire, but was eventually able to move back into its existing location after cleanup efforts and repairs.

The graphics company, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in February, borrowed space at Seventh and Washington streets for about 10 days after the fire, owner Tim Cooney said.

The business eventually relocated in a warehouse directly behind its current location and stayed there for six months, Cooney said.

Cooney said the original location, where he has operated since 2010, received new carpet, drywall and lights after being damaged in the fire.

The business and Cooney received hundreds of e-mails and text messages from people shortly after the fire asking how they could help.

“It kind of all put it in perspective and who cares and what kind of difference you make in the community,” he said.

Nearby businesses such as CMR Electric, located directly behind the site of the Carpet Mania, are also looking forward to the site being redeveloped.

“When everyone thinks of Carpet Mania, they think of that location,” said Christine Rossittis, CMR Electric president.

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About 50 firefighters battled the Jan. 24 fire last year at Carpet Mania, 1428 10th St., which was believed to have started in the company’s warehouse. The cause of the fire, which resulted in $2 million in damages, was ruled undetermined by Columbus Fire Department investigators.