Fire claims East Texan's business, community offers support

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After flames engulfed the Elegant Images salon, owner Heather Smith was left with thousands of dollars worth of damage, and no choice but to start over.

"It's devastating but, I feel, I feel very positive about moving forward and rebuilding and come back, to you know, to our home."

Smith's salon, which she owned for more than a decade was completely destroyed on Sunday. Now, with the help of other salons in the community and her staff, she's looking forward to a fresh start.

A fresh start that's provided Smith with an overwhelming amount of support.

"We've had so much outreach from the community. We've had so many local salons calling, other hair salons calling offering their support, our friends, family, clients," said Smith.

With plans to begin rebuilding, Smith needed a place to go temporarily, and the Wright Salon was one of several businesses eager to offer up the space.

"I feel like I'm doing the same thing anyone else would do," said The Wright salon co-owner Dana Wright Drinkwater. "I mean, we've got the room and, I mean, it's the least we can do. And, I would hope that if we were in the same situation, that somebody would be kind and welcome us in."

Drinkwater says it isn't about a competition.

"To me it's not competition because it's a personal thing when people come to you."

Drinkwater says, in times like these, the community works as one big family, doing whatever it takes to help one hard-working owner in need to get back on her feet.

"It's just paying it forward really. I mean it's just about helping each other out."

Smith says she plans to merge with the Wright Salon starting next week, bringing all of her staff members with her. She says clients can still contact her at her original business phone number: 637-2001.

She hopes to have her salon re-built by the new year.

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