Hot Topic: Lament for a landmark
Some businesses are more than that, and for Sebastopol, Frizelle-Enos Feed Store with its iconic Purina checkerboard adorning the building was a sense of home. When the store went up in flames on Saturday, July 13, people were in a state of shock. The next morning as word spread townsfolk could not believe it until they saw it, and they gathered at the blackened ruins, roped off with yellow crime scene tape, since the fire is being investigated as possible arson.
Some people had to wipe away tears. Some brought flowers, and as far as they could reach across the tape created a makeshift shrine to a beloved landmark. We asked people about their feelings and what they would miss.
“I have a lump in my throat. I shopped here all the time. I was just there yesterday. I brought my dog in for a treat once a week. I called my daughter in Oakland and she is in a state of shock.” – Vicki Amtower, Sebastopol
“I am sad, reeling. I worked next door in the postal annex for 15 years. Their garden seeds were the best in the area.” – Joanne Feige, Occidental, formerly of Sebastopol.
“I am shocked. I was here during the fire and never saw anything like it. There were 15 trucks here – it was worse than a bad movie.”
“This was very important. It was the centerpiece of downtown. It gave us all the hometown feeling.” – Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Gordon, Sebastopol
“It’s a tragedy. I was just there yesterday and bought food for my chickens. The ladies behind the counter loved animals and knew their stuff. I’ll miss the little chicks in the spring.” – Sarah Bates, Sebastopol
Jennifer Branaham and her son rode up on bicycles. “It’s so sad,” she said. “There were such nice people that worked here. The store was a big supporter of the community. I shopped here all the time. They had high quality stuff. I am an owner of the Laguna Farm, and they used to donate hay to our events. I’ll miss the Purina checkerboard.”
“I thought the fire was very big and very fast. I liked the baby chicks. We bought them here.” — Cody
“It’s a shame. We can’t think of any other place like this in the county. It was a cultural touchstone for everyone interested in agriculture or livestock. It was part of our history. We’ll miss coming here to buy unusual gifts.” – Donna and Jack Fisher, Sebastopol
“It is so sad. It was a landmark. I got my first chickens here, and I just bought dog food. There was a down home, old fashioned flavor. It was treasure. It is heart wrenching to think it might be arson.” – Mary Maloney, Sebastopol
“I wrote my partner and sent a picture. It is so sad. I just had to come down to see what was left. I bought feed for my chickens and lots of unusual gifts here.” – Daniel Potapshyn, Sebastopol
“It’s sad. I came here when I was a kid to get hay for our horses and feed for our pigs. Just passing and seeing the farmers loading hay was special. It was part of our town. Little kids loved it.” — Kerri Andrews, Sebastopol
“It has been a landmark, and we have lost too many, like the old train down Main. It was special for kids with the animals. I got to know it well. I remember when we first drove through here and saw it. We decided to move here.” — Mitchell Holloway, Santa Rosa, who lived in Sebastopol for 30 years
“For 20 years I took my daughter to see the chickens, bought feed, chickens. It was a bridge between the old school farmers and now. I remember once a bobcat was eating my chickens, and they gave me a Have a Heart trap to use for a few days. I used it, caught the bobcat and set it free, but not far enough away. It was back the next day. Everyone there was so helpful. I am going to miss the smell of the building and the blackboard out back where people could list their rabbits or goats.” — Mark Malicki, Petaluma
“It was special. They had wood stoves and were very knowledgeable. They never pushed, and there was no BS. They knew what they were talking about, and everything was high quality. For a short while they sold stills for distilling herbs, but I guess the ATF got upset. That didn’t last long. They were beautifully made. Wish I had bought one. They were also the only feed store willing to break a bale of hay if you didn’t need the whole thing. I am going to miss that grand old scale they had. Kids used to love to jump on it.” — Kurt Ratican, Bodega