It has been a challenging couple of weeks.
Originally we had planned to move our Strip District location on or before September 1st. Our lease at the old spot was up at the end of June, we were then in a month-to-month lease, and we gave our 30 days notice to our previous landlord July 31st. It was the right thing to do as we were on schedule with the new store and we wanted to give ample notice out of respect to the building owner.
As we neared that date we realized that things would not be quite ready, so we extended another half month. Until about a week and a half ago we were on schedule, so we began moving everything that wasn’t absolutely critical to the operation of our business. The store was a bit of a mess, if you didn’t notice, but we were able to serve customers and keep everyone employed. We planned on having inspections last Friday the 14th, and then move out the 16th and if we were lucky reopen the 17th.
Last week we started having serious problems with our plumber Jeff. He wasn’t showing up for work, and when he did show up he was very late and would not complete his tasks. At least a week was wasted. Ultimately he walked off the job last Thursday afternoon. When he left he also took with him most of the restroom fixtures that had already been paid for and did not belong to him.
We scrambled for a day before we found a new plumber, Joe Renners, who went to the Plumbing Division in Lawrenceville to get the permit put into his name. Backs against the wall and two days before the move out, we went into our own pocket to pay him to complete the job, plus redo a significant amount of work that had been done incorrectly by the previous plumber. Joe and his team did a tremendous job working through the weekend and battling through several issues until we passed our inspection yesterday morning.
In the meantime, we had our usual busy weekend and pulled the plug for good at the old place at 2pm Sunday. By 6pm we had the place squeaky clean and by 8pm we had finished peeling all our branding off the awning we put on the property 5 years ago.
We knew that Joe would not be able to complete the work in time for us to avoid shutting down operations for a couple of days, but our hope was that by end of day Wednesday we would be through all inspections and be permitted to open. He held up his end of the bargain. We then passed our ADA (handicap accessibility) inspection, and had previously passed our electrical and HVAC inspections. We were feeling hopeful.
Building Inspection, however, found an issue very late in the day. The sprinkler system did not adequately cover the restrooms and our “prep room”. They were absolutely correct in pointing this out and we learned that this was missed during construction. Oops. The Building Inspector has been very sympathetic to our situation, but he needs proof that this work will happen, so plans need to be submitted and need to appear in his system. We’ve been working the phones to get the fire prevention company on site, get plans drawn up, and submitted. We’re hopeful that once submitted that will be enough to get us open and the work will happen right away to get us to compliance.
So here we are- with an incredible staff, a beautiful new store, a great landlord, all the right equipment, and a bunch of amazing coffees… but we can’t let you come inside!
We’re continuing to keep everyone that works here on the payroll, because it’s not their fault and they have bills to pay. This is the situation we are in. We made decisions based on the best information we had, now we just need to get through this and get this place reopened.
We truly miss seeing our Strip District regulars, and we’re sorry we weren’t able to get this done the way we had planned. We just want to make you coffee, it’s just that there is a lot that goes into making that happen. If anyone is interested in producing a reality show about this place, hit us up.
See you soon (in the meantime please patronize our downtown store),
21st Street Coffee and Tea