The Great Spring Flood of '09, Part II


Dear Friends,
Thank you. Thank you for reminding us why we live here and what we love about this place. It's you. It's all of you. Though trying times like these often make a person feel isolated, you have all gone out of your way to make sure we know that we're not alone; that you are here; that we have been heard. Thank you for all of your your recent comments and emails, detailing your own personal water woes and restaurant battles, demanding to help us any way you can, reestablishing your loyalty, and declaring your inevitable triumphant return to our place.

It is gestures like these that prove to us that we are no doubt kindred spirits. So thank you. No really, Thank you. We are beyond humbled by your generosity, your openness, your authenticity, and your love. So I want to take this opportunity to return the favor and let you know that you are also not alone; that we are here; and that your well-wishes have reached our ears.

I'm not entirely sure what the best way is to go about explaining the recent turn of events given that we still feel in the dark ourselves about much of it. Despite numerous conversations with our insurance broker, insurance adjuster, landlord, lawyer and the like, at the end of the day we feel as though we've been submerged in a pool of confusion and doubt, left to drown in the shallow depths of that murky water that so haphazardly swept into our lives. I suppose, to put it simply, I could start out by staying that our original assessment of the issue at hand was unfortunately not entirely accurate; that unfortunately it turns out that the cafe is dealing with a much bigger problem than just the need to dry-out; that unfortunately it appears that we will not be re-opening our doors as early as planned. Yes, I would go as far as saying that the word "unfortunate" has been forced upon us as our word of the moment.

While we had originally been told by the clean-up crew that they would be able to vacate the premises by Friday, allowing us ample time to try and repair the place, contact vendors, receive orders, and do prep for service on Tuesday, we are learning that the underlying damage caused by the sitting water was extensive, resulting in the destruction of some valuable and essential property.

But, "You have insurance, right?"

Well, yes. Yes, we do, Thank God.

"So you're protected right?"

Well, we should be, right? This was our immediate response to the situation. That's what insurance does, right? Right? Oh, how we wish it were only that simple! Through this painful process we are learning the hard way that even if you do everything right, even if you take all the necessary precautionary steps outlined, that you may not always be protected. Allow me to clarify, our insurance is willing to cover a portion of our losses: partial employee wages, product and revenue loss, and damages to our personal property, but because we are tenants in this building and not owners, we have been informed that our insurance does not cover that which does not belong to us.

Over the past two days we have been faced with the daunting task of evaluating our future and the future of our cafe. This has been an incredibly painful, scary, and frustrating ordeal given how much of our time, our lives, and our selves we have poured into building this business. And who are we kidding? Little Red Bike Cafe is so much more than just a business. In short, it is Us: Ali and Evan, and it is You: ALL OF YOU.

We spent Monday in crisis mode and Tuesday with a sickening pit in our stomachs; the who, what, where, when, and how of it all circling around our heads like a flock of ravenous vultures. I assure you, there hasn't been a moment over the past two days where we haven't been consumed with trying to come up with an answer. After a full 48 hours delving into all of the possibilities, we have arrived at the conclusion that there is very little we have control over at this point. But wasn't this the whole point of owning, investing, and building our own business? So that we could have control over all (most) aspects of it? And here were are now, waiting for someone (anyone) to tell us what's going to happen to us.

In the meantime, we are hoping to take the advice much of you have prescribed us, by trying to view this interruption as an unexpected vacation, and return to enjoying life's simple pleasures like Earth Day, time spent with friends, and the beauty of a fistful of Farmers Market radishes. Again, we appreciate your overwhelming support and we'll continue to update the blog as the news trickles in. As they say, "You'll know when we know."

With much love and hopeful hearts,
Ali and Evan


kati said...

ooohhnoooo! (can you hear me freaking out from your house?!) not reopening is simply not an option. unthinkable! what do we need to do? set out donation jars on local counters? hold an auction? north portland garage sales? a concert? espresso pour-offs? there's got to be an answer...

Deanne said...

Wow, guys. What an emotionally wrenching couple of days!!! I know we don't really have any professional services we can offer you, but if there is anything that you need, please don't hesitate to ask.

Unknown said...

I think of your restaurant as a must-do when I visit Portland. I tell wandering friends they have to go there, as they have "tasty paste for my pasty face." Know that my hopes are with you to recover asap, not only for my all too infrequent visits, but for you, yourselves - so I know you two are down there living out the dream as I enjoy reading about it vicariously in Seattle.

Best wishes,

k a t

Kronda said...

Do we need to start a letter-writing campaign? My pen is ready!

Jill said...

Oh Goodness...I'm so sorry! I love you guys and will be hoping all the best for you. (we've never met, I've only been able to come out to your neck of the woods once..but it was delightful and I love to read your blog as you live your passionate food filled and love filled lives.

Unknown said...

Ali and Evan, I don't even know what to do to comfort or help you. You, your cafe, your coworkers, your food, your blog, are such a part of what comforts me; I am so saddened by your trials. But you will find a way through this and you'll be better than ever. And we'll all be waiting to get in the door. Hopefully, Jonlyn

billy wilson said...

I know that you have so many people asking you to contact them if you need any help, but seriously, let me know. I am a big fan, and if BARISTA can help, we will. All the best. billy

Deanne said...

I'm with Kati. Anything we can do to organize a fundraising campaign/event in the event that (god forbid!) it becomes prohibitively expensive for you guys to re-open, just say the word!