Westlake Village business owner transforms shop to help Woolsey Fire victims

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Westlake Village business owner transformed her shop to help those in need who lost so much to the destructive Woolsey Fire.

The Licata family evacuated their Oak Park home, sure the fire would never reach their neighborhood.

"You just don't think that it's going to, you know, come to your place," Angelica Licata said. "I grabbed my kids, my dog, my husband."

The needs are so many now. An emergency pop-up store in Westlake Village opened up for fire victims like the Licatas.

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A Malibu woman looks at what little is left of her home after losing it in the Woolsey Fire.

The shop was set up by two moms who met this week on social media. Kim Connelly-Cruz owns a succulent shop called The Pallet, but in the wake of the fire, she pushed aside the plants.

"I am meeting people I have never met before, I've hugged people I never met before," Connelly-Cruz said.

The woman who helped her make the pop-up shop a reality, Megan Gorney, said she had to do something to help her displaced students in the Oak Park Unified School District.

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The pop-up shop, located at 950 Hampshire Road, is offering items like clothes, toothbrushes and other essentials. Connelly-Cruz and Gorney want to spread the word that those who need help can find it there.

"They come in tears. They walk out and try to pull themselves together, and they come back in because it is overwhelming for them to come in here," Gorney said.

Licata said the ordeal has reframed her thinking: how her children will now learn from this.

"They are going to have, you know, that experience of having everything and having it all taken away and seeing what a community should do to come together to support each other," Licata added. "And they can hopefully pay that forward one day to somebody that is going to be in need as well."

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