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Square One fire leaves clients seeking kitchen space

FARGO -- Casey and Matt Steele sat in their idling car Tuesday afternoon and contemplated the remains of their business, Square One Rental Kitchen & Event Center, which suffered heavy smoke damage from a fire Monday night.

FARGO -- Casey and Matt Steele sat in their idling car Tuesday afternoon and contemplated the remains of their business, Square One Rental Kitchen & Event Center, which suffered heavy smoke damage from a fire Monday night.

Casey Steele said they spent the day Tuesday searching for alternative spaces they could offer to the many small businesses that have come to rely on Square One to help them do what they do, many of them baking and catering services.

Her expression communicating sadness and fatigue, Casey Steel said if anyone in the community has space to spare, she would appreciate hearing from them.

Square One, a commercial kitchen that for several years has been renting space to other businesses, posted a message on its Facebook page shortly after the fire letting clients know what the immediate future may hold:
"We are going to do our best to regroup and rebuild during this unfortunate and difficult time.
"We appreciate the thoughts and prayers from our community and the hard work of our local Fire Department. We would also like to thank the person who called in the fire so that the firefighters could tend to the situation. We will do our best to get this place back."
The fire at 1407 1st Ave. N. was reported about 10:45 p.m. Monday, and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.
Damage was estimated at about $100,000, with a fire official stating most of the damage was due to smoke from a vent burning off.
Some Square One clients said early Tuesday that Casey Steele had already contacted them to say she is working to provide them with temporary kitchen space as quickly as she can.
Jen Woinarowicz, owner of Jen's Breads, a maker of artisan breads, said she had dry ingredients stored at the building that were lost in the fire.
Woinarowicz said in addition to the Steeles' efforts to find alternative kitchen space, she and other Square One clients are working to find places to make their products.
"It was a small commercial kitchen, so it was kind of like a family," Woinarowicz said of Square One. "We have each others' backs right now."

Barb Cossette, owner of Cakery Pops, used Square One to make her company's signature lollipop cakes.
Cossette said in addition to her business, she works at Sandy's Donuts and she said her employer there has told her she can use Sandy's kitchen for the time being.
"They said that would be fine. So, luckily, I'll be able to work out of here for now," Cossette said, adding she was worried about what her fellow small-business owners will do for space now that Square One is out of commission.
"Some of them used it a lot," she said.

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The kitchen had at least two-dozen client businesses, according to Square One's website.

A benefit fund has been started for Square One on the crowd-funding website gofundme.com. The SquareOne account on gofundme can be found at: www.gofundme.com/qhnxw5u4 .
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, more than $400 had been pledged toward the goal of $10,000.

The phone number for Square One is (701) 388-1137.

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