An early morning blaze on Holiday Road destroyed three businesses. But for Robert Slade, the worst loss of all was the death of his pit bull Bo. He’d rescued his pet from South Georgia nearly seven years ago. “She was the runt of the litter of dogs being trained to fight, and I knew I had to get her out of there,” he said recently.

“The day she died was her 7th birthday. And my birthday was the next day, September 18. It has been an amazingly sad and indescribable time.”

Slade had recently moved his marine repair business to the building on Holiday which is shared with two other businesses: Classic 84 Marine, owned by Jordan Cross, and Bulldog Carts, owned by Tracey Rogers. “I opened my business three years ago and Robert and I have been working together for two. We’d been searching for a shop to share for most of that time, and just recently moved into the space on Holiday Road,” said Cross, who specializes in custom audio systems and boat detailing. “We had finally found a good location and were getting the logistics worked out. Inventory had already started arriving as well, and everything was lost.”

Cross had stored his 1984 Toyota Celica GT Hatchback in the space; it too was destroyed. “I learned to drive stick in that car, plus I lost my own boat in the fire. Fortunately, no customers’ boats were damaged, but we’ve had to rebuild from the ground up with tools and inventory,” he said. Rogers’ business is mostly online sales and marketing of customized high-end golf carts. “I have a number of local customers for repairs and golf cart sales, but the majority are from across the country,” he said. “I had just received additional inventory to gear up for my local sales season, and of course all of that is gone.”

According to the Hall County Fire Marshal, the blaze began in the golf cart part of the building. The blaze was ruled accidental. All three owners have begun to rebuild their businesses. Slade and Cross have purchased essential tools and are currently working mobile. Rogers is seeking a temporary location to continue his work.