During the night of Sunday, November 19th, Campbell Scarborough and his wife, Amanda Stoddard, got a call from a neighbor in South Park who had heard the fire alarm at Scarborough’s coffee shop, Good Voyage, going off. They “ran down the alley that connects our house home to our business home and saw flames and smoke pouring into the sky,” the couple later wrote.
“We are so fortunate the firefighters out there so fast,” Scarborough tells Eater Seattle. The fire could have jumped to a nearby house or laundromat or Scarborough’s neighborhood wine shop, Left Bank, where there was gas for the kegs. “It could have been a lot worse. We’re super grateful that no one was hurt and that Left Bank is safe,” he says.
But the bad news is that Good Voyage was so badly damaged by the fire, which was likely caused by faulty wiring, that it is closed for the foreseeable future. “Whatever is not burned up is completely smoke-damaged,” Scarborough says. “There’s no path to reopening without completely gutting it.”
The coffee shop is insured, but getting that money will take time. In the meantime, Stoddard and Scarborough have started a GoFundMe to raise money to help cover rent and pay the six employees of Left Bank and Good Voyage.
Already, over $33,000 has been raised, a testament to Good Voyage’s status in the neighborhood. The coffee shop, which opened in 2022, was a relaxed gathering space that hosted pop-ups for brunches and dinners and tapas nights, and looked to partner with local food producers — just before the fire, it had added Good Luck Bread’s pizza to its menu.
Now Scarborough and his team are trying to figure out where to go from here. He’s going to try to keep his staff paid through the holidays, he says, but adds that “there’s no way to float everybody” until any potential rebuilding. If he has to lay people off so they can receive unemployment while they look for work, he’s going to do that.
Scarborough doesn’t know whether Good Voyage will reopen, and where it will be if it does. Part of what’s difficult, he says, is that as a tenant in the space he has no claim to ownership over what used to be his cafe.
“You pour so much of an investment — emotionally, financially — into a space you don’t own. To have it just disappear for whatever reason, I know that’s the way the system is, but gosh, it’s really hard,“ he says. “I feel extra hard for all the small business owners. Everybody takes that risk.”