BUTTE — The past few days have been difficult for Selina Pankovich in the wake of watching her business burn to the ground in one morning after dedicating the past three years to building it up.
“An emotional wreck, you know, it comes and goes. One minute, I’m good and then I think, ‘I’ve got to go grab that off the corner of my desk,’ and then think, ‘There is no corner of the desk.’,” said Pankovich.
The owner of Butte’s iconic M&M Bar and Café, which was destroyed in an early morning fire May 7, said she plans to rebuild in the same location as the landmark stood for the past 130 years. She’s compelled to do it for the community and her loyal customers.
“All day long I think, ‘Where’s K.P. going to go? Where is Chester going to go?’ we have customers that came in two or three times a week; it breaks my heart to think, you know, they’ve lost their home and I got to get it back, I got to get it back quick,” said Pankovich.
The day of the fire, she was moved to see the firefighters carefully remove the historic sign before the gutted building was collapsed.
“They saved the sign, so you have no choice but to build and put the sign back, so it’s very inspiring that they went through their trouble, so now it’s my turn to put it back home,” said Pankovich.
Having a burnt-out gap in the heart of Uptown is something Selina doesn’t want to leave here very long, but she knows it’s going to take a lot of hard work and money to fill it.
“It is going to take some grant money, some fundraising, the insurance money, and my own personal investment back into the building and more financing, but it’s something I’m willing to do and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen,” she said.
Pankovich added she’s grateful for all the support she’s received from the community.