Manna European Bakery & Deli is open again following a late-December disaster that forced it to close its doors.
The Freshwater Road bakery was damaged with a car was driven through the front wall of the building, destroying the business’s electrical panel, knocking out the telephone and security systems.
Jonathan Rusted, Manna’s vice-president, said a customer was leaving the parking lot after buying a cake when the accident happened.
“When he went to back out, he backed out into — there’s a couple of posts in the middle of the parking lot around the telephone pole. He backed into one of them, and he said when he put it in drive to go forward, he said the gas must have stuck or something, and he went right in through the brick wall.”
No one was hurt, said Rusted, but the bakery had to “limp through” the following week, with electricians working to ensure the bakery was able to be open at least a couple of hours per day to make the basics.
“Usually our ovens are going 18 to 20 hours a day, and for the last week we were running at about six to eight hours, and that would include a couple hours’ warmup time, so we might have gotten six hours’ production time.”
But the piecemeal work was keeping full electrical repairs from getting done, said Rusted, so the bakery closed completely on Friday, and reopened Wednesday.
The damage to the store wasn’t the only problem, though. Three insurance companies with competing interests — representing Manna, the building’s landlord, and the driver of the car — needed to come to agreement on how to settle everything.
“It all seems to be moving forward better the last couple of days,” he said, adding he had “no idea” what the cost of the repairs and lost business would be, and declined to estimate.
The main thing was to get the business back open to its regular hours, which they are now, even if the repair work is yet to be completed.
“It’ll probably take us a couple of days to get up to full speed, but we’re working on it as fast as we can,” he said.
The front brick wall needs to be rebuilt from top to bottom, as well as a couple of interior walls, the electrical room, and some plumbing.
“It’s probably going to be at least a week before the repairs are done, but they’re not really putting a time estimate on it, because until you get at stuff like that, you don’t really know.”
Despite all the work, customers can still sit down in the bakery, he said.
Two secondary entrances are being used, with the front entrance out of commission.
“We’ve still got all the tables. They’re jammed a little closer together right now,” said Rusted.