That GoFundMe pageposted by surfer Ralph Fatello last week raised $34,905 to help the surf shop through 129 different donations.
“It’s heartwarming to know how much the store means to so many people,” Cropper said Wednesday. “It will ease our transition to get back to where we need to be.”
The fire struck just after midnight the morning it took place, severely burning two other businesses in North Beach Plaza – secret place and North Beach Bar and Grill – and getting smoke to fill Cinnamon Rainbows. The surf shop, a hub for surfers in the area, has continued to sell inventory from the sidewalk beneath their tents, while Cropper says they are awaiting further resolutions.
Fatello, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime member of the surfing community, said he’s known Cropper since Cropper was about 13 years old.
“I watched everything. I saw him being this little redhead grom turned surfer,” Fatello said.
Fatello admires events like Surf with a smile and the Hit the Beach by Wounded Warrior Project that Cinnamon Rainbows helps every summer to help veterans and people with disabilities get into the water on a board. He said that when he learned that Cropper and his family were unable to open the store due to the fire, he wanted to help.
30 years of North Beach:Cinnamon Rainbows is a hub for surfers
Fatello said the surfing community is tight-knit and he wasn’t surprised so many were willing to give.
“In tough times, they dig deep to donate,” Fatello said.
Business owners from the North Beach plaza have said they are in limbo, waiting for the insurance companies to finish their work and the building owners to make a decision on what to do next. Each owner has said they hope to stay local.
The owners have also said they appreciate the outreach from community members. A GoFundMe page raised $2,893 which was distributed to each of the three owners.
“I wanted to support the workers who lost their seasonal jobs due to something beyond their control,” said Danny Kilgore, who started the site.
Cropper called his situation a “waiting game.” He said a temporary site could be in the works, but that much is still up in the air. Meanwhile, Cropper’s team is gearing up for a “smoke sale” of clothes this Friday and Saturday. They still have boards and wetsuits for sale and the fall waves are still making their way to North Beach in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully everyone can get in the water and make waves,” Cropper said. “Ralph always says, ‘Surfing heals all wounds.'”