by Terry Rogers
Not Too Shabby Owners Humbled By Community Outpouring
The Milford community has come together to assist Don Vaughan and Will Payton, owners of Not Too Shabby, who suffered a total loss of their merchandise after a fire destroyed their business on Rehoboth Boulevard on Tuesday, December 3. Business owners, community leaders and friends of the two men who have given back to the Milford community for many years met on Tuesday morning to develop a plan of action to help the two men get back on their feet.
“We love Milford,” Vaughan said. “It’s home to us. We love the fellow business owners, neighbors and friends. We are humbled by the compassion, stunned by the amount of support and shocked by the level of love shown. People we have never met have walked up and hugged us, cheered us on and obviously donated time, supplies or money. This is likely one of the worst things I’ve experienced. Memories of all the friends we’ve made, gifts from customers, cards thanking us for things we have participated in, wedding pics from our customers. We will never get those things back but we cannot express just how grateful we are to the community for its support during this difficult time.”
Not Too Shabby did not own the building where their business was housed and they did not have content insurance for the inventory, tools or supplies they lost in the devastating fire. Vaughan said he knows other people are in need, questioning why the community rallied behind he and his partner so quickly.
“Don and Will have done so much for this community,” Nikki Quillen said. “They have donated time and money for so many great causes here that we all want to do whatever we can to help them in their time of need. While standing outside the burning building, Don became emotional. Not because he was losing his own items but because he had hundreds of blankets he had collected for the homeless that were to be donated to Code Purple. His reaction to realizing those blankets were gone while everything he owned in the store went up in flames explains why we want to do this.” Quillen, who is related to Vaughan and Payton, also works in the store.
Not Too Shabby was planning a large Open House for Saturday, December 7. They had travelled to Pennsylvania earlier in the week and brought back unique merchandise for the sale. All the merchandise was destroyed along with other inventory planned to be spotlighted on Saturday. Quillen said that, psychologically, Vaughan and Payton needed to hold this open house. The two men wanted to travel to Pennsylvania on Friday to purchase additional inventory and find a location where the open house could go on as planned. A GoFundMe was created by John Mollura, which, as of Monday, December 9, had raised just over $9,000 of its $20,000 goal. However, those funds were not available before the partners had to head to Pennsylvania on Friday to purchase additional merchandise.
Downtown Milford Inc. agreed to accept cash donations for Not Too Shabby, starting Wednesday, December 4, requesting that any monetary donations be dropped off at the DMI office. Dolce donated a portion of their profits to Not Too Shabby on Thursday, December 5. Westside Restaurant offered the use of an empty walk-in at their location where Not Too Shabby could store flowers for the florist portion of their business.
“We believe that beauty comes from ashes and opportunity can grow from devastation,” Dolce wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We are here to help fuel you with caffeine and love through this difficult journey.” Anita Kiger who also donated to the GoFundMe said that every time she has walked into Not Too Shabby, she feels like she is with friends, stating that Vaughan and Payton are a “wonderful couple with hearts that stretch beyond Milford.”
Abbotts Mill’s “Foraged: Merry Market” was held on Saturday, December 7. The organization reached out to Jenn Rowan at Lifecycle and offered a location for Not Too Shabby to hold their open house in conjunction with the Merry Market. Businesses throughout Milford donated items to sell at what was called “Not Too Shabby Emporium” in order to raise money to reopen their store. The event was highly attended.
“The motivation for this event was a natural response to the significant investment Don and William have made in building a dynamic and creative community in Milford,” Rowan said. “They are a full-service florist as well as restoration specialists of vintage goods and a communal space where artists sell their work. They serve Milford tirelessly in volunteering for our community events, engaging in charitable work and in direct community building by serving the board of DMI.”
Rous and Angie Robles, owners of My Sister’s Fault, reached out to their landlord to see if there was space available for Not Too Shabby to use for their store. Vaughan says that they are looking at several offers for space in addition to the My Sister’s Fault building.
“Retail space is being discussed,” Vaughan said. “We are considering space in a few places. A functioning space for us requires space for our flower shop. The My Sister’s Fault building is great. We have no idea when we will be able to reopen, however, as this is the worst time for business relocation. We cannot express just how appreciative we are for the community who has worked so hard to help us recover from this. We do have an amazing support system. We don’t deserve it, but man, we feel loved.”
It is still possible to donate to the GoFundMe page by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/not-too-shabby-fire-recovery.
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