DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If you live in Daytona Beach, the retro green and pink sign outside Zahn’s Flowers will be a familiar sight. Owner Leah Mihalko said it’s been a part of the community for nearly 100 years, originally owned by the Zahn family.
“My grandparents bought the store from the Zahn family in the 70s... I’m a third generation owner,” said Mihalko. “This place is my whole life. We grew up here and now I bring my child here.”
Early Sunday morning, a fire broke out at the store. Mihalko said the cause was an old electrical outlet. She says a bystander saw the smoke and called for help.
“We have cameras inside the store. When I heard about the fire, I immediately pulled out my phone to check the cameras. I could see the smoke billowing in... Then you see the parade of firefighters running in,” said Mihalko.
No one was inside or harmed during the fire.
Firefighters told the owners that the fire started on the second floor. They haven’t been using it for some time because it was undergoing renovations. Now the family-owned business will have to start over, coming out of pocket for expenses because they don’t have fire insurance.
“This place is our whole life. We grew up here in the store and it’s just gut-wrenching. We are survivors and we are strong,” Mihalko said.
The damage is extensive. The second floor completely charred, merchandise ruined and a hole through the ceiling just patched up. But the ladies at Zahn’s Flowers said they will remain open and accepting orders.
“We were able to get fresh product in. Christmas is a big one, especially this time of year you can’t go see your family members, so you send flowers and we are honored to be a part of the community to do that,” said Mihalko.
She says the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“The way that everybody showed up to help is just incredible. We had family, friends and perfect strangers showing up to help us clean and mop and drop off food... we are just so appreciative,” said Mihalko.
The family created a GoFundMe account to help cover the damages from the fire.