Help Ash & the Coffeeshop

$9,875 of $10k goal

Raised by 199 people in 1 month
Jeannie Albers
on behalf of Ashil Popal
 WINTER GARDEN, FL
You never know how much your life and livelihood can be changed in a moment.  My good friend, Ash, started his day on December 28th, 2016 the same way he had since 2008... he showed up at his coffeeshop (Achilles Art Cafe) in Orlando, FL, turned on the coffee machine, lights and television sets, then quickly ran ran home to get ready for the day.  In the short time he was gone, he received a phone call that the shop was in flames and the fire department had been called.  


I would like to pause here to say Ash is one of the hardest working individuals I've ever known.  He is also an incredibly loyal and caring person.  He started this business with the very little he had, and over the past 8 years he has not only built a lovely establishment (in an unlikely location) with delicious and unique food/beverages, but he also created a space that has fostered community... like, the kind of community you see in T.V. shows like Cheers.  Honestly, it's a place you could write a book about, and many have joked about doing just that.  I've seen friendships and relationships formed there.  There have been weddings and baby showers and graduation parties.  Many of you know Ash personally, and he has blessed your life in some way... perhaps he gave you financial help, or lended a joke when you needed a laugh, or would listen to you when you had a tough day, or celebrated your good news.  Yeah, he's that kind of friend.

Back to this Wednesday morning... by the time Ash arrived, the fire department had extingushed the fire (which was relatively small, it consumed a sofa and a few pieces of surrounding furniture, as well as about 8'x10' of drywall and structure)... but the majority of the damage done was by the sprinklers that couldn't be turned off, a problem out of the control of Ash or the firemen.  The shop was drenched for over an hour, causing wood and furniture damage. 


Two of his employees, and myself, helped to remove as much furniture as we could in order to dry up the floors before it could damage the wooden counter and walls, but once we got things under control after a few hours, the sprinklers turned back on again... completely soaking the place all over and causing further damage.  


Needless to say, the coffeeshop is in shambles.  I listened to several quotes from different companies, most of whom are asking between 2,500-5,000 just to fix the water damage to the space.  The buildling owner may be covering the cost of the structural damage , and damage to neighboring tenats, but that still leaves Ash with the cost of furniture, the water damage mentioned above, and fixing the shattered glass door as well as taking the hit from the loss of business while all of this gets sorted out (no insurance to cover those things).

I can't tell you how much it would mean to Ash (and to me) to know you all care about him at this discouraging time.  He has tried to be optimistic in the midst of the mess, "what's happened has happened", he shrugged and said when questioned how he wasn't in a corner with a bottle of whiskey.  But as I watched him frantically trying to squeegee the lake of water out the front door (after the second episode of sprinkler downpour), surely, I thought, we could all help him.  "I don't know what else to do", he said to me.  But I think WE all know what we can do.  If Ash or the coffeeshop has ever blessed you, please consider making a donation to get the shop back up and running, and I just know it will encourage Ash so much.  I would personally love to throw a "re-opening party" for all of you who contribute to this cause once we get the doors open again.


I love good stories, and I believe stories that take a turn for the bad (or what seems to be bad) can eventually prove to be good again in the end.  You can help give this story a happy ending, and hopefully quickly get back to eating Achilles sandwiches and drinking cortaditos with friends.  Cheers!



Thank you all for reading this and for your consideration!

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Update 5
Posted by Jeannie Albers
10 days ago
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Hello! Guys, we are open again and are nearly fully back to normal. Thank you again to every one of you that stepped up to help. In the most non-cheesy way, you've actually restored Ash's belief in humanity. He told me this a couple days ago (if you can imagine it in slightly broken English haha), "I used to think this kind of thing only happened to people on T.V., and that I was on my own and nobody would help me if something went wrong, so I had this mindset of taking care of myself, and then this happened and realized so many people have good hearts, and now I just want to help others".

We are celebrating Ash's birthday at the Coffeeshop on February 24th, from 8pm-midnight. Check out the event invite, RSVP, and we will see you there! <3

https://www.facebook.com/events/1808780602703914/
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Update 4
Posted by Jeannie Albers
1 month ago
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Things are coming together faster than imagined, and it really is because you guys keep showing up to help!! Ash couldn't have done without you.

Yesterday, Aicha and Nick came by to clean, Pavel and Yaro helped to instal new shelves, and, well, little Charlie was there just to make people smile... look at that face. <3

As of right now, we are hoping to have a "Thank You Party" on Friday night for everyone who donated their finances or time or words of encouragement. I'll send an official notice with the time and details once we know for sure. So pencil it in your calendars! We are hoping to be back in business by Monday (the 16th), if all goes well!

Thanks again, you guys!!
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Update 3
Posted by Jeannie Albers
1 month ago
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I'm pretty astounded by of all of you who have stepped up this week, especially during a busy holiday season. Friends who are around during good times are easy to come by, but friends who are there when life get's tough, well, those are rare. <3 <3 Not only is the financial goal almost met, but we've had families and individuals dropping by the shop to bring supplies, lunch, and even give hours of their time to help clean!!

Today was amazing, we cleaned the place from top to bottom, electricity was fixed over the weekend, drywall has begun to be repaired, and over the next couple of days we will be replacing furniture and assembling coffeeshop 2.0 for your future enjoyment!

Special shoutout to the hardworking crew today. No more soot, water stains, or garbage sitting around thanks to them. Here's a photo of Jennifer Cobb and her son Matthew (not pictured: husband/father Fred who was probably still cleaning on the other side of the shop haha). Matthew was worried his favorite dessert was burned in the fire... but fret not, Matthew, we will have a whole batch with your name on it when we open :)
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Update 2
Posted by Jeannie Albers
1 month ago
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1
1
Yesterday was a productive day. Thank you so much to the friends who came out to help box and move things and bring supplies (Rasha, Leigh, Steph, TJ, Pavel, Enrique, Liv, Dan, Jeremy, etc)

I found a stack of guestbooks from over the years that most of you have signed, and yea, you guys are very much a part of this place; it's such an honor to see an amazing response of support for Ash!

We are over HALFWAY there with our $10k goal!!! YOU GUYS ROCK. <3 <3 <3
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 1.3K shares on Facebook
Read a Previous Update
Willson Jaimmie
1 month ago

Will donate tomorrow. My plan was to come tomorrow to study. Hope all goes in your favor.

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James Byrne
8 days ago

Is the link for Ash's birthday not working for anyone else? I've clicked on it both here, and the one posted on the Achilles Facebook page. They get the "Sorry this page isn't available" error.

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France Neil
1 month ago

I'm so glad to see The Coffee Shop is going to be open again. This was to be our monthly lunch date for our group in Feb. Hope it's open in time. You are gem for putting this GoFundMe Campaign together.

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$9,875 of $10k goal

Raised by 199 people in 1 month
Created December 28, 2016
Jeannie Albers  
on behalf of Ashil Popal
$25
Anonymous
10 days ago
1
1
$50
Mustafa Mutlay
1 month ago
1
1

I was there 1/19 ,the coffee shop looks great again, I was not aware of the fire and the gofundme page ... I am glad your coffee shop still in business.

MS
$50
Mariani Sirianni
1 month ago
1
1

Me, Gustavo and @dafoodie are so sorry to hear what happen but God willing you will be back soon!!! I can't wait to have the best chocolate chai ever and the amazing Achilles Sandwich again!!

LR
$20
Luna'Marie Raphael
1 month ago
1
1
$50
Anonymous
1 month ago
1
1
MC
$20
Michelle&Erik Croyle
1 month ago
1
1

We miss you Ash! Best of luck in the recovery! Love, Michelle & Erik Croyle

CM
$20
Chase and Marie
1 month ago
1
1

Glad things are getting up and running again Ash. Hope all the best and will stop in soon :)

DA
$30
David Ayuso
1 month ago
1
1
PM
$25
Pablo More
1 month ago
1
1

Thank you Ash for years of great service and best coffee shop in Orlando. Peace and Success in 2017!

$100
Louie Flores
1 month ago
2
2

Can't wait till your back! Miss you guys, and those cortaditos!

Willson Jaimmie
1 month ago

Will donate tomorrow. My plan was to come tomorrow to study. Hope all goes in your favor.

+ Read More
James Byrne
8 days ago

Is the link for Ash's birthday not working for anyone else? I've clicked on it both here, and the one posted on the Achilles Facebook page. They get the "Sorry this page isn't available" error.

+ Read More
France Neil
1 month ago

I'm so glad to see The Coffee Shop is going to be open again. This was to be our monthly lunch date for our group in Feb. Hope it's open in time. You are gem for putting this GoFundMe Campaign together.

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