On Saturday, April 24th, six Sherwood Park business owners woke up to the unexpected and devastating news that their business had suffered a fire. The businesses affected by the fire are Little Caesar’s, KFC, K-Lee Boutique, Dr. Bernstein Clinic, Great Clips, and Chopped Leaf. Due to the great work of Strathcona County Emergency Services, the fire was put out early in the morning, and the Shoppers Drug Mart beside these businesses was spared.  The development affected was the Sherwood Centre strip mall, which was among the first commercial developments in Sherwood Park’s history.

The Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce was shocked and saddened at what transpired on April 24th.  This was a devastating incident, after a year of incredibly challenging times for Strathcona County business and residents. We are hopeful that each business will be able to rebuild and reopen within Strathcona County, and that a positive future is on the horizon for each business owner and the employees affected by the fire.

One business that resided in Sherwood Centre strip mall was Little Caesar’s.  This restaurant is owned and operated by Ravi Prakash, a local resident that lives in Strathcona County.   A father of two, Ravi is faced with the challenges ahead of insurance and much uncertainty.  While Little Caesar’s is a national brand, Ravi is the owner/operator and does not work for the corporate headquarters, and will be directly affected by expenses and losses faced by the devastating fire.  You can help support Ravi by visiting the GoFundMe page here https://ca.gofundme.com/f/help-little-caesar-sherwood-park.  K-Lee Boutique, another business affected in the fire also has a fundraising page, which can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kristen-and-klee-boutique (note: this particular fundraiser now appears to be closed).

It was announced by RCMP that the man charged with allegedly starting the fire is, sadly, a person with no fixed address.  These situations are challenging and can be brought on by years of hurt and difficult circumstances.

Thankfully there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for Strathcona County. The municipality has already been working on a long-term solution to community issues with the new Community Safety and Well-being Committee.  With this committee, the County is addressing disadvantaged people in the community and working to break the cycle that can spur on challenges later. The Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce is active in doing our part in building a strong local community and is pleased to co-chair this Committee. We are committed to helping Strathcona County businesses and residents alike.

While there may be some immediate successes in this important work being done by the County, long-term results are what we are looking for, so that business, families, and this great community can continue to flourish for years to come.

We wish the businesses that were affected by this fire well, and also all businesses that are challenged at this time.  If the Chamber can be of assistance, please contact Todd Banks at 780-416-3056 or at tbanks@sherwoodparkchamber.com.

Author: John Perozok, Policy Analyst at the Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce.