ATLANTA — It isn't easy for Skip Engelbrecht to look at his beloved boutique.
For the past 20 years, Paris on Ponce has become a staple in the arts community in Atlanta. But a huge fire on Nov. 27 near the Beltline destroyed a 100-year-old building and the boutique.
"It's all I know. So when I see it in flames, it's like a death for sure," Engelbrecht said.
Much of the art, clothes, furniture and personality that made Paris on Ponce so popular in midtown are now burned.
A lot of the art belonged to more than 30 vendors who worked with Engelbrecht to sell their pieces in his space.
"To give them a chance to see what they can do to start their dreams up," he said.
Many are now packing up what they can save while Engelbrecht starts to rebuild.
"I don't want to give up. I'd like to preserve something for the community. Small businesses like this are very important for everyone on the Beltline," he said.
Atlanta Fire Department is still investigating to find a cause for the fire.
No one was hurt in the fire which happened as Engelbrecht was making some final plans on a new restaurant that was set to open inside.
"Then to be kicked down again, and then you walk around, and you're like, "How do I rebuild something that I was already rebuilding?"
He does have help: Donations have hit nearly $13,000 on a GoFundMe page. It's a start and a sign that what Paris on Ponce is about won't be gone for long.
"In return, it's coming back in a way people are being really sweet," Engelbrecht said
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