Fire damages Mayfair store days before its 11th anniversary celebration

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A fire broke out Friday morning at a Philadelphia business that was set to celebrate its 11th anniversary.

Firefighters were called to Art History 101 around 5 a.m. on the 7000 block of Frankford Avenue in Mayfair.

Owner Justin Pross, born and raised in Mayfair, was at the gym when he found out.

"A little after 5 o'clock in the morning, I got a phone call from a friend that works at a restoration company, and he said, 'J, your store's on fire,'" Pross said.

Pross immediately ran to his store.

"By the time I got here, all you could see was smoke and some fire engines," Pross said.

Pross started out making shirts in his mother's basement. Art History 101 was founded in 2008, and the Mayfair location opened for walk-in business in 2010.

"All of our designs are original. We do all the production in here in the basement, so everything's pretty much like limited edition. I'm basically an artist that puts his artwork on clothing," Pross said.

The fire was located in the basement and spread to the main floor.

No one was inside at the time, and no injuries were reported.

The business was going to mark its 11th anniversary this weekend with giveaways and other fun.

"This weekend was kind of just like a celebration. We just wanted to see our customers' faces, come in, they didn't even have to buy anything. We just wanted to celebrate us being here 11 years," Pross said.

This business has managed to stay open through the pandemic, only to be met with a fire.

Pross is still trying to determine the extent of the damage to his store and the businesses on either side.

"I'm just going to keep my faith - I cried my eyes out once I found out, but now I'm just ready to build it back up, stay positive, and be better than ever," Pross said.

The cause of this fire remains under investigation.
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