WHEATON – More than $10,000 has been raised to help the owners of a coffee shop that remains displaced following a fire Nov. 22 at the train station at 402 W. Front St. in downtown Wheaton.
Young and Sam Oh own Java Connection inside the train station. Former Java Connection employee Kerry Sanson started a GoFundMe page to help them out while the station remains closed.
Sanson worked at Java Connection for almost nine years. She started with the previous owners and left the job earlier this year.
The owners of Java Connection have been assessing their damages following the fire, Sanson said.
"They had to sort through everything and pull out what was salvageable," she said. "It's like nowhere near opening. They have to resupply everything, including their stock. My heart goes out to them at this time of the year. We all know what it's like to be suddenly without any income coming in."
She wants to present them with the money this week. She descibed the Ohs as down-to-earth people who know their customers by name.
"And if they didn't know them by their name,they wanted to know them by name," Sanson said. "That's why I think their clientele love them so much."
No one was injured in the fire, which has been determined to be accidental in nature. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
The city of Wheaton leases the building from Metra. After conducting a fire investigation, Wheaton Fire Department officials said the fire appears to have been related to a malfunctioning heater unit.
While the train station remains closed, two portable warming shelters have been installed on the inbound platform in front of the depot, according to Metra's website. The structures are lighted and will provide heat for waiting commuters.
How to help
To help, go to gofundme.com/Wheatoncares-YoungandSamOh.