HUNTINGTON — Donations are coming in spades for Grady’s Tavern, one of the businesses destroyed when an arsonist torched the historic building it was housed in on May 23, and the pieces are starting to fall into place for the owners' hopeful reopening.
According to Lillian Matthews, who co-owns the business with her husband Tim, the van that was recently gifted by Steve’s Hometown Toyota raised $2,180 in raffle ticket sales. The majority of tickets were sold during Huntington’s annual Labor Day celebration in the Lion’s Park, across from the former tavern, according to Matthews.
When they raffled off the van that night, the man who won re-donated it back to them, she said, so it could be re-raffled. Matthews said the man is an old customer and had bought the tickets through PayPal, telling her in advance that’s what he would do if he won.
“He was thrilled,” she said when he found out he won, adding that the feeling was mutual.
Matthews said the community will get another chance to help out as they re-raffle the 2004 Ford Freestar van during half-time at Huntington High School’s homecoming game on Oct. 11.
Shortly after the van was raffled off, the Matthews along with Mike and Tina Wiley, owners of the Streamliner Cafe and Howell’s Lounge, received $5,000 a piece from the fundraiser concert performed by Jim Belushi and his musical guests on July 27.
Steven Meland, co-owner of Hotbox Farms, a recreational marijuana dispensary in Huntington, who helped organize the fundraiser said that the concert generated $4,997.
“We rounded it up to five-thousand-dollars, and matched that for a total of ten-thousand-dollars in order to give five-thousand to each group,” Meland said.
Hotbox Farms, in an email, expressed their gratitude to Belushi and the people who came together to celebrate Huntington and raise funds for those affected by the fire.
The money raised was “thanks in part to Matsy’s and the generosity of those in attendance,” an email from Hotbox states.
As far as when Grady’s Tavern might reopen, Matthews said the person they purchased the new building from emailed her Sept. 10, telling her it would be another four weeks before the building is ready.
Matthews previously stated that she hoped they could reopen in October sometime.
“Sooo, we’re just going to get the ground work done so when it gets here we’re ready,” she wrote.
At the time of the arson fire, the other two businesses in the historic building, Howell’s Cafe and the Streamliner Lounge had been closed since fall of 2018.
Mike Wiley previously told the Argus that although they were closed during the fire, they were still contemplating reopening this year. However, to this he added that he and his wife were both busy now working full-time jobs.
The roof on a neighboring business, Huntington Bait and tackle, was also damaged.
Raynmon Garcia was sentenced to 55 months in prison for starting the fires.