Hello! I am Walter McAdow, jeweler, metalsmith, and owner of Flint Trading Co. — a unique small business featuring a jewelry studio and gallery of my own work as well as works by other Michigan artists. I am seeking your help with unexpected costs associated from a recent fire that occurred in my building that are not covered by insurance.
In the spring of 2018 I opened FTCo., a small brick and mortar jewelry studio and art gallery on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint, Michigan that specializes in custom jewelry design and fabrication – a personal dream of mine over 20 years in the making. Not even two years into business, Covid-19 brought my business, and many others, to a screeching halt. When businesses were allowed to re-open, my existing space was too small to accommodate the new social distancing requirements. In order to save my business, I moved to a new location on Second Street in Flint, around the corner from my original location. The new space, adjacent to Buckham Alley, was in front of the former longtime home of Buckham Gallery (now located just across the street). The light filled space was a perfect fit and allowed Flint Trading Co. to re-open to the public.
Unfortunately, investing in this new, larger space exhausted all financial reserves that could have helped respond to the fire on Thursday, July 29, 2021. The fire broke out in the empty space formerly occupied by Buckham Gallery, and upon discovery at 4:00pm was already beyond anything that could easily be contained. The quick actions of multiple local fire departments were able to spare the rest of the city block from immediate fire damage. My business, however, suffered extensive smoke and soot damage as well as some water damage.
I have learned that soot is a mix of abrasive carbon particles, smoke, and liquid… a sticky and corrosive substance. While certainly not as dramatic as the fire itself, it will permeate and compromise everything in its proximity. It has infiltrated walls, floors, artwork, furniture and tools. Items like paintings, leather jewelry, handmade textiles were damaged and many may never be sufficiently conserved. Additionally, within 24 hours it began to corrode many of my precision jewelry-making tools with several now requiring replacement.
FTCo. will find a way to survive. For almost three years now people in this community have been a huge source of inspiration. In the beginning I thought I was doing something special for the community by opening my business but that was shortsighted. I have now learned that the community has done far more for me! The people here shape my artistic vision and refine my unique business model of studio/workshop and gallery/boutique. The very concept of my business reflects the imaginations and hopes of the people that have frequented it and defines the personal journeys that I embody in the custom work I produce. I cannot adequately express my sincere appreciation for your continued support of Flint Trading Co.