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Devastated but not defeated: Support pouring in for Fresh 2 Def Kutz after June fire

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 18, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Caution tape, boarded up windows, and plenty of debris.

"They took our home away from us," said William Officer, a barber at Fresh 2 Def Kutz. "That's just not fair, we didn't do nothing to deserve that."

That's what's leftover of Fresh 2 Def Kutz on the corner of Chenango Street and Masschusetts Avenue in Buffalo. The 15-year-old shop owned by Angel Mercardo caught fire on June 2nd, just hours before they were scheduled to reopen in Phase 2.

"We spent that money getting all the supplies we needed, the thermometers, all the regulations, we knew what we could do and couldn't do," Officer said.

A nearby camera confirmed arson. A dozen residents were displaced and the barbershop's staff and friends were left wondering why?

"That was devastating," Duane Thomas, barbershop spokesman and friend of Angel said. "Who would ever want to do that to Angel's barbershop?"

Because it's more than just a home. The business means everything.

"There's five barbers that are here and we all grew up in this neighborhood," Officer said. "We all look at each other like family."

The barbers aren't 100% sure if they're going to be able to rebuild in their original spot but they do know they'll get through this, because that's who they are.

"Just like that inflatable wobble thing where you hit it and it bounces back up, that's how Angel is," Thomas said. "All these other barbers, they're like that."

And the support has poured in. A GoFundMe page has surpassed $12,000 and this weekend, there's a BBQ fundraiser with food and haircuts on the sidewalk. It's a way for this shop to say thank you and show that together, they're Buffalo Strong.

"The fact that we got so many people showing love, we know there's gonna be a lot of love when it comes to laying this brick down and picking this work up," Officer said.

"I have no doubt in my mind that they will come back," Thomas added. "And it will be a great comeback."

The BBQ fundraiser is scheduled to begin at 12pm on Saturday, June 20th right in front of the barbershop.