Author: Lisa Finn, Patch Staff
Community Opens Hearts To Braun Seafood After Fire
Support from a caring community pours in as owners, staff work tirelessly to keep business open, make Braun “bigger and better than ever.”
CUTCHOGUE, NY — It’s a story that speaks to the heart and fiber of the North Fork community: After a fire ripped through a storage building at Braun Seafood in Cutchogue Wednesday, not only did owners and staff work tirelessly to open the business just hours later — but the love of the community came pouring in as sea of neighbors, friends and other businesses stepped up to help.
Almost immediately, friends and customers turned to social media to urge heading to Braun for take-out dinners or to buy gift cards for Father’s Day, as a way of showing support after a fire that left the fish market and grill intact — but caused major damage to a back storage building.
“What makes our company so great, are the people in it,” said Cody Homan; the Homan family owns the iconic North Fork business. “I’m humbled by the community and all of the support, from sandwiches to extra freezer space. Also, our company is nothing without the hardworking employees within it. Braun Seafood Company is the largest seafood distributor on the East End and the fire only brought us closer and stronger to becoming the largest on Long Island.”
After the fire, the Homan family, along with general manager Keith Reda, and the staff, posted a message on social media: “Thank you to our North Fork community for their generosity of spirit, helpfulness, and personal kindness. A special thank you to Lisa at Scoops for providing us with an endless supply of much-needed coffee, to Case’s Place for the sandwiches and to everyone who has offered refrigeration, trucks and support throughout the day. Our grateful thanks go to the Southold Police Department, and fire departments in Cutchogue, Mattituck, Jamesport, Southold and East Marion. We’ll see you tomorrow!”
And that, they did: The business was going full swing Thursday and Friday, with freezers up and running and wholesale delivery trucks out on time. “Because of everyone’s hard work, Braun’s will have almost all of its product back in stock by the end of the week,” the owners said. With temporary freezers up and running, with product back in stock, by next week, everything will be stocked as usual, they said.
“I would like to thank all the local fire departments and Southold Town Police Department,” Reda said. “The community — and mostly, the staff at Braun Seafood. They are the most resilient group of people I know. We will continue to bring you the best products that you have all become accustomed to. Looking forward to a bigger, better Braun seafood.”
(Courtesy Braun Seafood)
After the fire early Wednesday, owner Ken Holman and Reda issued a statement: “The damage was done to an older area of the building. We are resuming business as usual in both Braun’s Grill and Braun’s Fish Market. Wholesale will resume scheduled deliveries tomorrow.”
“Everything is back to normal, added Jen Lew, who handles marketing for the business. In fact, she said, staffers didn’t lose their humor even in the face of the fire — they offered a smoked salmon filet salad at Braun’s Grill to add levity to the situation. “We want to keep it light,” she said. “Everything is back to normal.”
Heavy fire ripped through a back storage building at the popular Braun Seafood business in Cutchogue early Wednesday, officials said.
The Cutchogue Fire Department confirmed that the fire began at 3:07 a.m. and that no one was inside the back storage building, where the fire broke out.
The fire was kept under control and did not spread to the fish market or to-go seafood business in the main building, officials said.
Officials at the scene said it took about three hours to get the fire under control; Cutchogue, Mattituck, Southold, Greenport, and East Marion Fire Departments responded, with Riverhead providing support, as well.
Cutchogue Fire Department Chief Thomas Shalvey Jr. said the fire broke out in the back storage building of the business; the roof collapsed on that structure and the building — as well as the store and restaurant — sustained water damage, he said. One fire department member was treated for heat exhaustion, he said.
Other fire officials at the scene said the blaze was difficult to knock down because when the roof collapsed, the fire was trapped beneath.
The back storage building was completely totaled, according to fire department officials at the scene.
The cause of the fire was not immediately determined; the Suffolk County arson squad was on the scene conducting an investigation, officials said.