LOVELAND, Ohio -- Three months after an electrical fire gutted his bistro alongside several other businesses and a handful of apartments in historic downtown Loveland, Gaetano Williams is rebuilding and bettering the devastated space with his community in mind.
It was they, after all -- surrounding businesses, neighbors and friends -- who helped him and other victims of the fire raise enough money to keep going in its aftermath.
"When our employees were displaced and the people next door were displaced, the amount of support, funding, encouragement -- all that came together at such a pace that it was kind of numbing," he said.
All together, they've raised almost $54,000.
Williams, who owns Tano's Bistro and Catering, is using the repair process as a chance to give the space a comprehensive makeover. Although it was still under construction Tuesday, he said he plans to include an upstairs multi-use dining and banquet area along with an rooftop bar when the restoration is finished.
And, he said, he'll look for ways to give back to other people and organizations in need, such as Back to Back, March of Dimes and Cancer-Free Kids.
FROM THE VAULT: Loveland fire on same block in 1972
"This is what we're about," he said. "I'm excited."
There's still a lot of work left to complete, however. Williams hopes to open his doors again by May 28, 2018 -- the one-year anniversary of the fire.