Beloved Business Rises Up from the Ashes by Lyn Walters What follows is a love story. A love story between the little town of Quincy and one of its local businesses. But nobody was really aware of the strength of this love affair until the early morning of the Sunday before Christmas when several buildings in Quincy caught fire and burned to the ground. It soon became apparent that while the buildings would be rebuilt, the town was at risk of losing a special little store that went by the humble name of Quincy Thrift, owned by the lovely Traci Turner. “What will become of Traci’s?” was the main question asked in the churches and cafes around town that morning.
Traci had started her business 12 years earlier, and she had been out of town when her store burned to the ground. Famous for its witty window designs, Traci had just spent thousands of dollars replacing the carpets, painting the walls, and stocking up on store supplies for the coming year. But even before these upgrades, people loved stopping by Quincy Thrift. Traci was known for always having a kind word for everyone and a few dollars to spare if someone were hungry. She outfitted entire families who were in crisis, gave little toys to children and gave away merchandise for donations. She helped the ladies pick out clothes that suited them and helped the men by carrying tons of work shirts and jeans, and by pricing the tools cheaply. She had a costume room perfect for Halloween but also for children in school plays and college kids going to parties. Traci was sensitive to her customer’s needs, whether physical or spiritual.
She was devastated by the fire, but the town wouldn’t let her give up. She only had enough insurance money to rent a new space at the other end of town and to buy a few clothes racks. She had lost her job, her income, and her inventory. But then the donations began pouring in.
The local California Highway Patrol collected donations from throughout the Valley to help her restock. Local trades people helped her outfit the store with shelves and other necessities. Beatty Construction volunteered to build her a dressing room, and when she couldn’t decide where to put it, the builders put it on wheels so now she can move it whenever she rearranges the shop. “I never imagined this kind of flexibility,” she says.
Traci’s personal resilience and irrepressible sense of humor have helped her endure the ten hour days, seven days a week she has had to put into opening the new store. The new dressing room sports a red rotary phone on one wall and a fire alarm on another. She thought about printing up match books instead of business cards with the store’s information.
“This has really been a lesson in learning how to accept help instead of giving it,” Traci acknowledges. “I couldn’t have done it without all the time, money, merchandise and just moral support this town has shown me. I would go into a restaurant to grab a bite only to find my bill had already been paid. People stopped by the store at all hours bringing food or offering to pick some up for me.”
While she still feels there is much to do, the charming new shop is open and filled with treasures. It is located across the street from Quincy Natural Foods.
“This has to be one of the best bad things that can happen to people,” Traci says with a smile. “I can’t thank everyone enough for the love and generosity I have been shown over the past three months. And I wouldn’t have believed it if someone would have told it to me six months ago.” So yes, Phoenixes are real.
Address is 230 Main St. in Quincy. Phone: (530) 283-1762