DAYTON STRONG! Oregon District shop and bar raise boatload for victims of summer tragedies 

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 @ 6:27 PM

More than $37,000 was raised as part of a Heart Mercantile fundraiser for victims of the Aug. 4 shooting in the Oregon District. Pictured left to right: owners Kait Gilcher,  Amanda Hensler,  Carly Short and Brittany Smith.
Heart Mercantile
More than $37,000 was raised as part of a Heart Mercantile fundraiser for victims of the Aug. 4 shooting in the Oregon District. Pictured left to right: owners Kait Gilcher, Amanda Hensler,  Carly Short and Brittany Smith.(Heart Mercantile)

T-shirts and beer have gone a long way to raise funds for those impacted by the Aug. 4 mass shooting  and the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes that hit the Dayton area. 

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The Trolley Stop, 530 E. Fifth St., raised more than $10,000 for victims of the tragedy. 

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The owners of Heart Mercantile, 438 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, raised $37,228.17 in August for the victims of the mass shooting that claimed nine lives and left more than 30 injured. 

More than $37,000 was raised as part of a Heart Mercantile fundraiser for victims of the Aug. 4 shooting in the Oregon District. Pictured co-owners  Carly Short.(Heart Mercantile)

The money was the result of sales of a Dayton Strong T-shirt designed by Dayton native Emily Short, stickers and cash donations, the shop’s owners Kait Gilcher, Carly Short, Amanda Hensler and Brittany Smith said in a joint statement to this news organization. 

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The money will be given to the Dayton Foundation for its Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund. 

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The demand for the T-shirts was so high that the shop had to partner with three printers: locally based Leaf Printing and Merchfits as well as a company based in California. 

“We thought we would sell a few hundred, but the demand hasn’t tapered. Our employees have worked overtime since August 4th to fulfill orders, and many patrons and residents of the community have stopped in to the store to help sort and fulfill orders as well as feed us,” the women said in the statement. 

Pre-orders of the grey and blue Dayton Strong tees were accepted at heartmercantile.com.

The shop will continue to sell the shirts, owners said. 

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Heart had already raised thousands for victims of the Memorial Day tornadoes and for the YWCA Dayton in response to the KKK rally on Courthouse Square. 

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They also raised funds for Alayna Young, the Blind Bob’s server who was injured in the mass shooting. 

A short distance down Fifth Street, Trolley Stop owners Chris and Robin Sassenberg  and their staff partnered with brewers, distributors and other businesses and community members to raise $11,060 for those impacted by the tornadoes and shootings.  

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The money collected as a result of a series of parties was donated to the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership an American Red Cross, a post on the business’ Facebook page reads. 

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The post also says: 

“None of this would have been possible without the outpouring of love from our beautiful community. We can not thank you enough for your generosity! Seriously, thank you. Thank you to our staff and all the people who make up the Oregon District for staying strong, sticking together, and forging on. You made it happen and we couldn't be more grateful for you.  We love you, Dayton.”

Dani Praeter (center) came to help her parents, Robin and Chris Sassenberg, clean up after the tornado. After the tornado was gone, Chris emerged from the basement. “What really got me was opening the bathroom door and there was nothing but sky,” he said. “It looked worse in the morning.” AMELIA ROBINSON/STAFF(Amelia Robinson)

The Sassenbergs’ Dayton home was badly damaged during the worst of the tornadoes. 

Robin Sassenberg said she was wowed by the community’s response to her and her husband. 

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In an earlier interview with this news organization, she vowed to help others impacted. 

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