Thursday, July 9, 2009

One day mad equipment fest

I happened to get a note this morning from a friend (thanks, Sue!) who owns a deli in Walnut Creek, hipping me to a restaurant going out of business in her neighborhood, and selling off all their equipment. Today only. For two hours. In five minutes.

So, taking the moment by the horns, as it were, I jumped in my car and sped east. I got to the restaurant at 10:30, and found a good dozen people running in and out of the place with armloads of stuff. I thought I was probably too late to get anything good, but I poked around a bit, and found differently.

After an hour or so of scouring and negotiating, I had purchased almost all the refrigeration I need, along with an icemaker, a ton of wire rack shelving, some wall shelves, a kitchen door, some floor mats, a microwave, a hand wash sink, and some paper towel and soap dispensers, for only a few thousand bucks. All the equipment was only six months old, and came with warranty information and original invoices. Score!

I spent the rest of the day disassembling stuff in the restaurant, renting a truck, getting cash from the bank, finding friends to help me move (thanks, Gail and Everett!), and loading and unloading the truck.

In the meantime, I found out that there were some errors in the floor plan that the city had provisionally approved for occupancy puposes. My interior space had gotten bigger. Which you'd think was a good thing, but in the world of municipalities and permits, it's not. I had gained about 50 square feet, which I now need to remove from my seating area in order to get my occupancy permit. I'll deal with that in the morning.

Also, the city wants me to sign off on an agreement which relieves them of liability in case I don't adhere to the terms of my permits. Which, as far as I can tell, no one else has been asked to do. And the agreement is some non-standard thing that one of the building department guys just drew up. And which, when I marked it up to something a bit more palatable, I can't get feedback on. It may be that this issue (which, by the way, is the first problem I ran across when I started working with an architect a month and a half ago), is going to be the last one solved before I open. I have my fingers crossed that it will get worked out, since I'm approaching the point of no return quickly. More so after buying all this equipment today.

Some nice things - someone has been leaving flowers tucked into the front door of the cafe. When I get there in the morning, they make me smile a bit. And, people walking and biking and driving by the cafe often stop to look, and sometimes poke their heads in to ask what I'm doing, and when I'll be open. They all seem genuinely excited to have something opening in the neighborhood. I'm glad. Hopefully we won't disappoint.


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