Business owners coping with outage aftermath

Andrew Robinson
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St. John’s business owner Melanie Caines was just getting back to St. John's from a yoga retreat in Mexico on Sunday when she first heard that her rented studio was a victim of water damage brought on by a massive power outage in Newfoundland.

Melanie Caines (pictured at the front) leads a Wednesday yoga class at the Rocket Room in St. John’s. Caines moved her business, Nova Yoga Studio, there on Monday after a weekend power outage and freezing temperatures caused a pipe to burst in the apartment above her rented studio. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram 

“I landed here and turned on my phone, and there was a call from the studio manager who’s also a teacher at the studio saying, “There’s been a flood,’” said the owner of Nova Yoga Studio.

As it stands, Caines rents her studio space on Long’s Hill, so she will not be responsible for the cost of repairs. However, damage brought on by a burst pipe in the apartment above her studio means portions of the floor, ceiling and walls need replacing. Caines was told the damage will displace her for two months.

Many businesses in St. John’s were adversely affected by outages linked to a transformer fire at the Sunnyside terminal station over the weekend. The Telegram and several retail businesses are not presently able to operate in the Village Shopping Centre.

Issues with its sprinkler system caused extensive damage inside the building, including its electrical system. It is not known when the building will reopen.

Fixed Coffee and Baking was open for business Saturday morning when the initial outage happened. By Monday, the contents of its fridges were spoiled. Co-owner Greg Hewlett estimates the value of the food lost was approximately $1,000.

“I can only speak to the food industry because that's what I’m in, but businesses in this industry live and die on very small margins,” said Hewlett.

Fixed also reported Wednesday through its Facebook page that one of its local suppliers, Murray Meadows Farm in Portugal Cove, sustained damage to its greenhouses during heavy snowfall that preceded Saturday’s outage. Fixed will host a special taco night next Wednesday, with proceeds from sales supporting the farm.

For Caines, a temporary solution to her loss of a studio was identified quickly once she contacted Rocket Bakery the same day she returned home. Nova Yoga Studio is operating out of its Rocket Room all of this week, after which Caines will move her classes into the former site of the Dance Centre at the Cathedral Parish Hall on Gower Street.

“It all happened very quickly and that was a relief, knowing that I could keep working the next morning without any interruption,” said Caines. “I really wanted things to continue.”

On Wednesday, she was holding free classes at the Rocket Room with complimentary coffee and tea.

“I feel at this point everyone can use some yoga. I think that tensions are really high in the city.”

Hewlett said customers were coming back to his coffee shop Wednesday at a pretty steady pace.

“I'm really impressed by people’s tenacity at getting down here,” he said, noting that parking meters on Fixed’s side of Duckworth Street have been made unavailable for several days as large piles of snow continue to be an issue in downtown St. John’s.

“The other half (of Duckworth Street parking) is at all times full, so at least by car, we’re nearly unreachable.”

Organizations: Sunnyside terminal, Dance Centre

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Duckworth Street, Gower Street

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Recent comments

  • jim
    January 09, 2014 - 20:19

    Not the IceCaps. Would have inconvenient for them to not play so they went ahead. What a joke.