The Fire Still Burns
Some of you already know in detail,some may not. Regardless, I feel the need to tell the story.
One year ago this week... May 22 2006.
Evolution Body Piercing , in Providence RI, Burned to the ground. This was all courtesy of a "chef" at the restaurant in the space next to us,that had been out partying all night and hadn't slept, going in to work on a catering job,starting a grease fire while cooking a beef brisket, and not knowing how to put out a grease fire, he turned on the ventilation fan which sucked the fire into the air ducts, air ducts that the owners of the restaurant were warned months earlier by the fire martial to clean out. The fire spread inside the walls and ceilings and the building was lost.
We lost everything, 2 Statims, a Tuttenhauer autoclave, medical table,2 Ultrasonics, all of our tools,11 display cases filled with jewelry and all of our back stock.
I STILL owe out close to $40,000 for jewelry that was lost that had not been paid for. Luckily the 2 vendors that amount is split between were and are both truly considered friends, in and out of the industry as their help, understanding, and patience has been amazing. The Insurance co's are making everything go to court before any money is dispersed. Of course the restaurant owners, are friends with the mayor,their incompetent chef wasn't even charged with Criminal Negligence.
In the weeks following the fire, the initial sympathy and support was certainly in effect. And while it was helpful and much appreciated,the process of getting back up from this devastation has been slow and trying.
We relocated to the back of a small Tattoo shop up the street from our former location, called University Tattoo. 2 local club night benefits rallied enough money for us to buy a used Statim on Ebay (That Statim died about 3 months ago,I can't catch a break). I've been using the Tattoo shops autoclaves for everything now.
Business has been abysmal. We're literally doing about 1/4 the work we were doing before the fire. We're on the same street, 2 blocks further up. Same piercing staff,same quality of jewelry same attention to details and cleanliness in our work and techniques. I believe that the main problem , other than the much smaller sales floor (4 display cases) which is STILL more than any one else in the area, is lack of advertising. There's just no money for it. It's a catch 22.
As it is I've had to sell off most of my personal possessions to keep things moving at all, let alone forward.
EVERYONE locally knows that Evolution burned down. I run into people on a daily basis when I'm not at the shop, that haven't a clue that we're reopened(We were back open within weeks of the fire, in the tattoo shops space). I haven't been able to do virtually any advertising other than trying to spread the word of mouth. Of
course many of my competitors have helped spread the news of my shops demise,rather than it's rebirth (can't blame them as they're trying to benefit their business')
One was even laughing about it, when unknown to him a friend of mine was in his shop scouting..needless to say he got an earful, and every person in his shop looked at him like the asshole that he is.
I'm thankful that the core of my client base has hunted me down in the space that we're in now. I just need to get the rest of my customer base back,in order to get back to where I was.
I really don't know why I'm writing this, I don't expect handouts, I don't really even expect sympathy. It's taken me a year to even mention anything other than some personal entries on my LJ.
I guess the lack of progress back to "normal" in my life has prompted me to finally be more vocal. I've truly tried to stay positive and optimistic about the changes in my business and my life that I've had to endure.
I just guess I needed to rant in an industry friendly forum about how a year later there still has been no even remote hint of justice. I just can't stand the fact that I've worked hard with integrity and diligence my entire life, and career as a piercer , and one moron without the common sense to put out a grease fire effectively destroyed the life and business that my love and dedication to my art and clients helped to build.
I've been fairly silent since the fire, and I think that the only person trying to do much on BME to help was my former apprentice and friend Gregg (KungfuGreg). Gregg and a couple of others sent tools and care packages. Thanks to those that have supported Evolution Studios in the past. We're still here, now at 203 Weybosset St.in Providence RI. giving the same gentle, safe, and accurate service,and high quality jewelry that I've been providing for the past 16 years, and Chantal has for the past 12.
Thanks for reading my rant, venting it out does help.
submitted by: I_AM_Providence
on: 06 June 2007