After two decades in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, a local store was destroyed by flames.
While devastated, the owners of Hiller & Moon – a cheese and fine food retailer – say they are overwhelmed by the support they have received from their community.
“It’s remarkable. People really come out of the woods to help,” Claire Matern, the gourmet grocer’s daughter and a lifelong employee at the store, told The Post of the flood of donations, volunteers and human kindness she’s received since her 814 Union St The shop front was destroyed in a morning fire last Friday May 20th.
“We believe it was an electrical fire,” said Matern, 32, who was not present when the top-floor tenants called the fire department, whose station is half a block away. No one was injured in the inferno, but the downstairs shop was destroyed by extensive flame and smoke damage.
A message to the city’s fire department asking for comment, including what started the blaze, was unanswered as of press time.
A GoFundMe for the institution Park Slope, which calls it “the best little deli in Brooklyn,” has raised about $24,000 of its $50,000 goal. In addition to money, parishioners offered other methods of help.
“People would bring us water and bagels and come by all day Friday and Saturday,” she said. A neighbor who is a graphic designer offered to make them a sign explaining that they had a fire set up for their now boarded up shopfront. A wine shop nearby sent them a case of wine. “Everyone says we’re here to intervene.”
“My dad can’t walk down the block, everyone is offering to help. It took him 45 minutes to get from Union Street to Second and back because so many people stopped to hug him,” Claire said of her father, Ted Matern, the store’s owner.
Despite the damage, there is good news.
“Everyone is safe. The rest is stuff and is replaceable — but everything needs to be replaced,” wrote Claire Matern, who was 12 when the store opened and grew up helping behind the counter, in a Facebook post about the incident and told The Post: “The walls are black. The glass window is broken. All inventory has been lost.”
However, the store’s paper mache mascot, Gideon the Rooster, miraculously survived the flames. “Many children have asked us about him. We say, “He’s fine, don’t worry,” she said, adding that somehow Gideon just got knocked over and covered in soot.
Ted Matern, a 40-year food industry veteran, was inspired to open Hiller & Moon in 2002 after years as general manager of legendary Soho specialty grocer Dean & DeLuca. “He wanted to take it to Park Slope, where he’s lived since 1979,” she said.
“I was very encouraged by all the support and the people who stopped me on the street almost every block to offer me their best wishes. It’s amazing,” Ted Matern told the Post.
Among those who volunteered last Friday was Daniel Enriquez, a frequent visitor and area resident who has known Ted for years. Two days later, Enriquez, a 48-year-old Goldman Sachs employee, was shot dead in an allegedly unprovoked attack as he rode the subway to Manhattan for brunch.
“He was a real regular,” says Claire Matern. “He lives about two blocks away. He stopped by to make sure we were all okay and see what he could do.”
While insurance matters are still being worked out and her most optimistic timeline remains just “as soon as possible,” Claire says that despite the support of her landlord and the community, she’s confident Hiller & Moon will reopen and has defined the fire as a new opportunity .
“Park Slope is sort of a village, and I’m really encouraged and reminded that the neighborhood needs and wants us,” she said. “It sort of forces us to do upgrades that had to be done after 20 years. I look forward to coming back better.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/hiller-moon-burns-down-after-20-years-in-park-slope/ Hiller & Moon burns down in Park Slope after 20 years