Uncertain Future for Denton Mini Mall


©The Talon News | Hayden Calendine

A view of the Mini Mall after the fire on Jan. 14 in Denton, Tx. (Hayden Calendine | The Talon News)

Sarah Crowder, Reporter

Singed bricks and broken glass are all that is left after a fire burned the majority of the Downtown Mini Mall I down and damaged multiple other businesses early in the morning on Dec. 26.

“When we first arrived on scene I was thinking ‘We’re about to lose the whole east side of the square,” fireman Buck Galbraith said. “I sure hope we don’t.”

As firefighters from Denton, Argyle, Flower Mound, Ft. Worth and the surrounding areas pulled up to Locust street, they knew that they had to put it out.

“It wasn’t the biggest fire,” Galbraith said. “But it was the most significant just due to the fact that the city is based around the square. It’s such a big part of Denton. It was really tough to not get emotionally involved, especially because I’m from Denton.”

The fire took two hours to get under control after it was reported between 3:35 and 4:40 in the morning.

“From what it appears, [the fire] may have started in the basement,” Howell said. “I don’t know what the investigation has decided yet or if they’re even figured it out yet.”

The Mini Mall received most of the damage, but other stores on Locust street, such as Jupiter Coffee House and La Di Da, have closed temporarily due to smoke and water.

“[The Mini Mall] would probably be considered a total loss,” Captain Chuck Howell said. “It will be up and running as whatever it becomes next in a year or two. The damage to the Jupiter House was minor, mostly smoke and water damage. They should be back up and running soon.”

A variety of items from 47 vendors were lost in the fire.

“Some didn’t have a whole lot,” dealer Donna Boenker said. “Mine was worth $30,000.”

Many of the vendors pour everything they have into the Mini Mall.

“I felt disbelief and sadness [when I heard],” Boenker said. “To know you worked so hard for so many years to see it all go up in smoke is devastating.”

The Denton community has reached out to everyone who lost something in the fire, donating to GoFundMe pages started for some of the owners and vendors.

“They’ve been supportive as far as coming to Mini Mall II and shopping here,” vendor Maria Marquez said. “They usually tell us how sorry they are and how sad they are to see it go. They’ve been very nice.”

Many of the vendors from the Mini Mall I have moved over to the Mini Mall II and are attempting to bring back some of what they had.

“One thing I would like is for people to know that we’re here, we’re still standing,” Marquez said. “There’s a lot of us here and it would be nice to see those customers come back.”