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West Portal hardware store reopens after fire

One year ago, on the night of Jan. 23, owner Matt Rogers and manager Karl Aguilar watched their store, Papenhausen Hardware, be destroyed by a three-alarm fire as firefighters raced to put the fire out along West Portal Avenue that also damaged two other businesses.

Rogers said on Wednesday morning in front of 2 West Portal Ave., where Papenhausen Hardware will have its pop-up location until renovations are complete at its original store location at 32 West Portal Ave.:

“This atmosphere is a sharp contrast to where we were a year ago. We were down there watching the store burn and it was a little chilling.”

After learning that night that there were no injuries, Rogers said:

“We’re going to be back. We’re going to rebuild.”

Through the help of Board of Supervisor President Norman Yee’s office and Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s Disaster Relief Fund, which helps merchants who are facing a major disaster such as a fire with a number of programs to help merchants reopen, Rogers was able to relocate to 2 West Portal Ave. on a short-term lease.

Aguilar said the community came out to support him and Rogers during and after fire, including Fire Chief Joanne Hayes White, residents and community members:

“That’s the only reason we do this job.”

The treasured Papenhausen Hardware has been around since 1936 and is part of The City’s Legacy Business program.

Yee said:

“We as a community, we need to get out there and let them know they are up and running to support them.”

President of the West Portal Association Deidre Von Rock-Ricci said the hardware store is the heart of the West Portal and a meeting place in the community:

“The commuters, the business owners, the neighbors, come to the local hardware store to find a screw to go into the our 20th century plaster walls in our homes and offices and wiring for our high-speed internet. So, it really is a meeting place.”

Papenhausen Hardware plans to reopen its original store location in May, Yee’s office said.

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