ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In Albany, neighbors and shoppers on Lark Street are grieving the loss of a local shop that was destroyed by fire Sunday night. Yamar Carter, the owner of Yamaguchie, shared his emotions on Facebook.
“For six years, I have been trying to build something,” Carter said. “And to have it all go up in flames like this…I don’t know what to say…”
On Monday, Carter tells News10 that he is still in a haze. Now, customers and neighbors like Shei Manon are mourning the loss of the shop.
“It’s hard already as a black-owned business,” Manon said. “Now you add the fact you factor in everything you worked so hard for, from the vandalism that’s going on to his shop being lost, which is such a tragedy. It’s like the Lark Street I once knew is basically gone before my eyes.”
David Lester is an Albany resident and customer. He felt sad about the situation, especially since the shop owner had also been a victim of a string of burglaries in the area just a few months ago.
“But he has been resilient, and he’s taking care of what he needs to take care of for his customers,” Lester said.
Those who know the owner say he invested not only in his business but also in the community. Stephanie Levay, Assistant at Alacrity Frame Workshop, has known Yamar for many years on Lark Street. The two and other artists organize ‘The Makers Market,’ which features local artists on the first Friday of each month.
“I’ve watched him open, I’ve watched him commit to hard work and trying to come up with new creative ideas with whatever he can get his hands on…he creates something just magical,” she said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter was injured, and one person lost their home. Still, Joseph Gregory said he is proud of how fast crews contained the flames in such a packed area.
“The firefighters did a great job from the time of the call to the time when they gained control of the fire-it was just 20 minutes,” he said.
But those who know Yamar hope he can rebuild and reopen his shop soon.
“I hope that he has another shot and that his business booms even more,” Shei Manon said.