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Truffles Burger Bar to rise from the ashes
 
Greg Peerenboom
www.standard-freeholder.com
Friday, December 10, 2010
 
CORNWALL -- The southeast corner of Pitt and Second is in virtual ruins and one of the city's oldest businesses is still in recovery from Sunday's fire.
But Andre Pommier smiles broadly even though the 1800s' building his family owns is likely destined for demolition.
A bright ray of light is now shining on the prospects of Truffles Burger Bar, KAB Boutique and Pommier Jewellers.
"We're reopening (this morn-ing)," said Pommier, co-owner of the jewellery and gift store which has been a community mainstay for 73 years.
Not long after, it was announced through the Downtown Business Improvement Area that Truffles Burger Bar, a mere infant on the local restaurant scene, will be reborn.
Truffles' owners Dominique Gilgen and Ahmad Mansori had achieved glowing success in its short few months of existence in the Pommier building.
"Although devastated by their loss, they acknowledge the need to get their business back up and running," said Gaye Adams, the DBIA's marketing manager.
"Not only are they the parents of two young children, they also feel responsible for their extended family, their dedicated staff," said Adams, of the couple's plan to relocate to 155 Pitt St.
The building at 155 Pitt is beside the Bank of Montreal and is owned by Giovanna Galleto and Eric Charron, who also operate nearby Cornwall Busi-ness Machines.
Galleto and Charron "are working closely" with Gilgen and Mansori "to assist them."
"(They) acknowledge the importance for neighbours to work together, particularly in a time of need," Adams said.
"Not only has (Charron) provided some of his renovation crew to assist, but he has been working side by side with (Gilgen and Mansori) to assist them in their future plans."
Pommier said community support has been especially heart-warming in a time when the entire staff has been "very busy, with a lot of emotion.
"Customers have come in with sandwiches," he said.
He said the smell from the smoke should be gone soon, thanks to the disaster restoration firm, Clean All.
As of Thursday afternoon, the smell was easily bearable.
The store had reopened on a limited scale Tuesday morning to deal with customers' most pressing needs like finishing up work on an engagement ring.
Gilgen gave special credit to Rachel Navaneelan, a local dentist/philanthropist and family friend, who has started a fundraising campaign for the couple.
"Every time I think about Dr. Rachel and what she is doing for my staff it makes me cry," Gilgen said.
Meanwhile, KAB Boutique, which was located to the south of Truffles, is in clean-up mode and hopes to reopen soon.
All parties involved said the firefighters' response was crucial to stopping worse damage.
Pommier said it didn't hurt his store was a former bank and that much of the merchandise was saved by the walk-in vault.
He also has tenants in his second floor which have been accommodated.
He also believes that good karma had an influence, as he produced one of the Christmas angels the store sells to raise money for the United Way of S, D and G campaign.
The only lamentation was for the historic corner building, which Pommier described as "one of the oldest" in the downtown.
While he hasn't yet been advised by the fire department on what course of action should be taken, he said replacing the structure would be an insurance claim of about $700,000.