UPDATE | Store finds new home after building collapse

Published: Dec. 1, 2019 at 11:04 AM EST
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UPDATE 12/2/19 @10:30 p.m.

In the midst of bringing joy to many this holiday season with Winterfest, the Friends of Portsmouth are going one step further to bring some Christmas cheer to a few more.

“They're such great people,” Friends of Portsmouth assistant director Bryan Smith said. “They really are. We wanted to make sure they had an opportunity.”

They are The Christmas on Second pop-up shop. The store became an unexpected victim Saturday when the building they were renting in Portsmouth collapsed, leaving them with no place to go. Right across the street, the Friends of Portsmouth is donating its headquarters to allow that shop to continue running business as usual.

Smith says there will be plenty for Winterfest goers to look forward to if they decide to shop there.

“(They’ve) got all kinds of great, crafty Christmas items,” Smith said. “(They’ve) got stuff. There’s bulbs, there's decor, there's a lot of rustic looking stuff. There’s a lot of unique items inside of there. (They’re) going to work hard these next few days to get everything up and going so she can open up on Friday.”

The group sees this as just another example of the community coming together.

“It's a Christmas store so very limited window on when it's open and being in December,” said Friends of Portsmouth member Nick Rutman. “Good to see the community coming together for another location for it.”

For Smith, it can't work out any better.

“It works out perfect for (them) because I'm at Winterfest all afternoon and evening and it's awesome,” Smith said. “I can pretty much be wherever so it's perfect for (them) to come and set up.”

The Christmas on Second shop will reopen on Friday at their new location and will remain open through Winterfest, which ends on Dec. 29.

UPDATE 12/1/19 @ 10:30 p.m.

It's been only two months since Jeremy Burnside purchased another building in a historic part of downtown Portsmouth. But on his way to see a movie with his daughters, he got a call that bricks were falling off of it.

"I rushed over here and the city of Portsmouth was right on scene and secured the area and we're fortunate that we were able to do that," said Burnside.

Officials say that only about 20 to 25 bricks first fell off the building Saturday evening. But around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the entire front of the building collapsed.

"The very first thing that my wife and I thought about was we're lucky that God blessed us (and) that nobody was walking by," Burnside tells WSAZ. "Winterfest was canceled yesterday so we're very lucky about that. We're also lucky that it happened in the evening."

He says he and his wife bought the building to restore it.

"I mean the buildings just have awesome history and we realize that and we want to make sure it's preserved for 150 more years to come."

Officials say no injuries were reported.


The front side of a building in a popular part of downtown Portsmouth collapsed overnight Saturday.

Main Street Portsmouth says the building is on the 500 block of Second Street.

Crews first responded to the building Saturday evening when about 20 bricks fell. The area was roped off as a precaution.

There are several businesses around this area, and the popular Winterfest is set up just down the street.

Festival officials say the incident will not impact Winterfest festivities.

The owners tell Main Street Portsmouth they are optimistic that they will be able to rebuild.

No injuries have been reported.