Augie Vitiello started the fundraiser through Indiegogo, an internet fund raising site. Called Augie’s Will Rebuild Staff Fundraiser, the site has raised almost $10,000 by Wednesday afternoon.
Augie’s, on Route 50 in Ballston Spa, was destroyed in an early morning fire on August 5. The blaze, which started at 4:30 a.m., was under control within a couple of hours, but the wooden structure was a complete loss and demolition crews were already taking what remained of the structure down by 10:30 a.m.
Vitiello writes on the website that Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant had a fire and that the entire place was condemned.
He continues, “The most important headline of the day is that no one was hurt. Things can be replaced and we will rebuild. However, while we rebuild, our faithful and amazing staff will be temporarily out of work. As per the nature of being service staff, supporting them is difficult when much of their money comes in as tips for their superb and amazing service.”
Vitiello hopes to raise $50,000 through the website. He writes,, “We are making a fund for those who have experienced the service from Augie’s to help hold over our employees while we rebuild. We hope we have the community reach out and help the staff. Nothing is more important to us than our dedicated and friendly service staff. Without them, there wouldn’t be an Augie’s.”
The money raised will go towards the service staff’s hold-over budget and will be split as normally done with tips and money raised with normal business at Augie’s. Any remainder of the funds in case they are able to rebuild faster than estimated, will go towards local homeless shelters in the area.
Those who donate will receive a one-time coupon good for a percentage discount off of their bill upon reopening, applicable for in-house dining.
People who are interested in donating, can go to the website at www.indiegogo.com/projects/augie-s-employee-fundraiser. Donations that receive the discount perk, come in three increments—$25, $100 and $250. Contributions of any amount, starting at one dollar can also be made.
As of Wednesday, 66 donations of $25 had been made, 30 of $100 and 11 of $250 or more. Donations have come from over 150 sources, including dozens of area residents and businesses such as Morgan Linen Service which donated $600, Max London’s/Mrs. London’s and Ballston Spa National Bank.