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If you can’t take the heat…

Oven on the ground

We have been working 20 hours a day to get the store ready, and it’s almost done. I wanted to post more about the experience, but every time I come home I’m so tired I go straight to sleep, or I take time to talk to Andrew about something other than cookies. So many post-worthy things have happened in the past few months, like the time I electrocuted myself on the fuse box, or dropped oil based primer in my eye while painting the ceiling, or hailed a cab with a utility sink in hand, and much more, but sometimes it takes an extra spark to get me to write. That leads me to this week’s adventure – the oven fire.

We moved the equipment in two weeks ago and the electrictian came last week to pull the right plugs and make sure everything was properly powered. The oven was the last thing to hook up. This happened on Tuesday, and by Wednesday we had a problem. The window delivery man came to the store and smelled smoke in the basement, and called our contractor, who called the fire department and told Andrew to go to the store. Andrew ran from Union Square to the store, only to find fire trucks and all of our neighbors standing outside. He called me, and I had a mini heart attack. Losing the store at this point, just before we open, would have been devastating.

Burnt oven panel

The fire department responded immediately and used a special bolt cutter to get into the basement (I appreciate them not breaking the windows or knocking the front door in). They were able to find the fire and extinguish it right away. We have smoke damage to the basement and the oven is a total loss, but at least no one was hurt and the building structure and all other equipment is fine. No one is really sure what happened, but it looks like there was loose wiring in the oven panel that sparked and created the fire. The equipment guys at the Bowery need to find me a new oven, and that may be another adventure in itself.

Other than the oven, things are going very well. The espresso machine was delivered today, and all other major equipment is in and ready to go. I have been busy ordering over 50 varieties of tea from my favorite vendors, along with some new cold drinks for the front. It’s so fun to be able to buy and share other people’s products! We hope to open in September, and I think it’s a realistic goal.

Thank you construction crew, firemen and neighbors for taking care of our store!


caitlyn says on September 7th, 2007 at 10:43 am:

I am so glad no one was hurt and the property damage was minimal.
Best of luck as you prepare to open this month, Kelli.

Christine says on September 7th, 2007 at 11:27 am:

Looking forward to the opening! Be Safe!! :D

Lara says on September 8th, 2007 at 12:31 pm:

OH S*#@ Kelli!

Just checking to see how everything was progressing…not expecting to find this! Extremely happy to hear that there was not much more damage…thank GOD for that delivery man! Sorry I haven’t been in touch more…been crazy busy on this end as well. Call if you need anything at all. Take care of yourself!! LARA

Laurie says on September 9th, 2007 at 11:35 am:

Well, to quote a famous person…”THAT’S HOT!” However, Kel, not a bit amusing, huh! Sooo, things are returning to normal & I know you are looking forward to moving ahead & throwing the doors open to an adoring public! Soon I hope! :-)

Karen says on September 10th, 2007 at 8:25 am:

Thank goodness the damage was minimal and no one was hurt!

keiko says on September 10th, 2007 at 10:03 am:

Oh Kelli, I’m so glad no one was hurt. It sounds like we will be seeing your brand new store very soon, how exciting! I so wish I was there to help you, take care. kx

McAuliflower says on September 10th, 2007 at 8:59 pm:

Geez- what the heck?!

Glad you were able to give us an update and that your damage is rescue-able.

Julie says on September 11th, 2007 at 4:20 pm:

Glad to hear that no one was hurt _ and of course, can’t wait for your wonderful place to open! You are an inspiration!

cheryl says on September 13th, 2007 at 12:37 pm:

OMG wahat a nightmare Kelli. I know you will be glad to have this all behind you. Just think of all the stories you will be able to tell your guests when you open! It will be worth it in the end. I sure hope things are running smoothly now.

Kristin says on September 13th, 2007 at 8:24 pm:

Did Eric the clown put it out with his big shoe?

Laurie says on September 13th, 2007 at 10:30 pm:

What the heck is Kristin talking about?!? DUH!

Candy says on September 14th, 2007 at 12:38 am:

I’m so happy for you — well, for me, too. I can’t wait to visit and stock up.

Lorraine says on September 16th, 2007 at 8:26 pm:

Just stumbled on your blog and I can totally relate. I opened up a bakery in Virginia almost a year ago now. The period of construction and set-up is very stressful–and I haven’t had any fires yet!! Wow.

Good luck with everything. I wish you luck and can’t wait to hear how it all works out for you upon opening.

ayse says on October 12th, 2007 at 11:30 am:

Kelli-when are we going to see the picture of the new,shiny and working oven?

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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