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After fire destroyed their community store, Amish in Unity determined to rebuild

The Amish Community Market and Bakery had no insurance to pay for any of the losses.

UNITY, Maine — A fire last week destroyed a business in Unity, but rebuilding plans are already in place.

On Thursday, flames tore through the Amish Community Market and Bakery so quickly that nothing could be saved. It's believed the fire started near the boiler, but an exact cause was not determined because of the extent of the damage.

The very next day, Amish and non-Amish community members came together to clear away the debris.

Market and bakery owner Caleb Stoll told NEWS CENTER Maine that the rebuild is on, despite having no insurance to pay for it.

"We would understand the Bible to tell us to not try to make our possessions too secure. So it would be a way of trying to protect against loss that we feel would not be following Jesus' teaching, and the other reason would simply be the way it changes the individual on how we relate to the community, and loss, and tragedy," Stoll explained.

Stoll said that when he saw all the flames and the heavy smoke, he knew the loss would be significant.

"We were trying to think of what we could save, but it was just so hot that there was no option of even getting close," Stoll said.

Stoll said the rebuilding process would be a community effort, as they rely on each other in the Amish community when tragedy strikes.

"Whenever disaster strikes, we help. And then those people, in turn, when disaster strikes at our door, then they are there ready to help. So in a way, it is insurance, but it is different than an insurance premium with a company," Stoll said.

A close friend to the Amish community, Dane Parker, said the store was the heart of town. The Amish relied heavily on it, and the community did too.

"The store was the center point where I first met people in the community and was very comfortable coming in and visiting them," Parker said.

A friend sent this picture showing progress. Hopefully permitting and supplies will be quick.

Posted by Amish Community Market and Bakery, Unity, Maine on Monday, January 24, 2022

Stoll said the community store was the primary source of income to about 15 Amish community members.

"If they didn't have this store here, they would probably have quite a bit of difficulty staying here," Parker said.

"We don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars waiting for these kinds of disasters. So we are going to rebuild and restock the store as we can," Stoll said.

Anyone who would like to lend a hand rebuilding the store is welcome.

Donations to help rebuild can be dropped off at the market site at 368 Thorndike Road, Unity, in care of Bishop Caleb Stoll, or at any Downeast Credit Union branch.

They can also be mailed to:

Donations can be made to:
Downeast Credit Union
Community Market Savings Account
P.O. Box 760
Unity, Maine 04988

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