Jack Knox column: Broken window jeopardizes eatery built on 'guts and resourcefulness'
Dear vandal: A dream on the line
By Jack Knox, Times Colonist April 20, 2009 2:02 AM
Victoria Times Colonist This is a story of broken windows and broken hearts.
It’s also a reminder that sometimes bricks and mortar might as well be flesh and blood, that mindless vandalism hurts not just property but people, too.
The tale is best told by Corey Judd who, after the window of his six-day-old downtown restaurant was broken last week, wrote an open letter to the guy who did it.
“The way I described you to the cops was this,” it began. “You are a young man, around 22, about six feet tall. Slender build and wearing dark pants and some form of white dress or tux shirt with the collar falling off a bit. You had an olive complexion and can run quite fast.
“I’m afraid that this is as accurate as I can get, as my best view came as I fell to the ground and watched you run around the corner with the dreams of everyone who built the restaurant whose window you just smashed.
“Earlier tonight you were having fun with your friends. I know what that’s like. You’re young, out on the town, drunk and something has ****ed you off. I can understand how you could react to something as insignificant as that waitress blowing you off. How you chose to display that, unfortunately, has consequences far beyond your cut knuckles.
“You decided to smash out the window to the closest business at hand. It’s kind of cool after all, banging on stuff, just to show how strong you are.
“And you don’t even know your own strength. You chose a window of a new business that was built on the hopes and dreams of a rag-tag crew with so few resources but hell-bent on improving their circumstances.
“You broke the window of Cabin 12. Brand new on the restaurant scene, and thanks to your actions, quite possibly on its way out.
“You see, that’s how tight it can be in the business world. I know that in the dorms there are relatively light consequences to a drunken escapade. Someone else inevitably takes care of it. But here in the real world, there are 15 people who might lose their jobs if we can’t afford to replace the front window.”
Judd wasn’t kidding about that last part. Cabin 12, in the Plaza building in the 600 block Pandora, opened April 10 “on little more than guts and resourcefulness.”
It was the product of desperation. Judd himself was maybe a week and half from the street after his old restaurant job went south March 10. So he launched a Facebook group, raised $10,000 from friends and relatives who kicked in $20, $50, $100 apiece.
He hired 15 people who had, like him, found themselves living in the margins. Judd vowed to foster a workspace built on mutual respect and trust.
“We refitted an entire kitchen, created a front, hired a staff and built a restaurant with virtually nothing. We did it by asking people to come and help us build a better workplace, and they came,” Judd wrote. “We learned how to grout, and tile, and plumb. We painted and painted and painted. We scraped and scoured and somehow, amazingly, in three weeks we managed to create something incredible out of almost nothing at all. We did it by offering pride and something to work for.”
But this was a shoestring operation, and the shoestring snapped when the vandal hit early Friday, just after midnight. A $1,000 window bill is enough to sink you when you don’t have a thousand bucks. Judd was in the front room and saw it happen.
He called 9-1-1, but was less than impressed with the efforts of police. The real helping hands came from his neighbours at Monty’s, the strip club, and Barcode, the nightclub.
The landlord also stepped up and said he would cut Judd some slack. The staff said they could wait for their paycheques.
“As much as they say that, I know they can only go so long with so little,” Judd says.
The restaurant remains open, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. as usual. “We’re going to figure this out, we’re going to be OK,” Judd has told the staff. He hopes the physical damage will be fixed today. (“I’m going to be sleeping in the front room until the window’s fixed.”)
The human cost is still uncertain.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
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04-20-2009, 09:18 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Business Built On Guts And A Shoestring
04-20-2009, 11:49 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
Very few people actually realize how thin the line is between a sucessful business and one going under for the third time.
Even if your business takes off like gangbusters in the first year,you still pour more money into it than you get out of it making sure that you sustain that level and don't drop off after the novelty of it fades.
04-20-2009, 02:14 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
04-26-2009, 11:32 AM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Jack Knox: Readers dig deep for restaurant owner
By Jack Knox, Times ColonistApril 25, 2009
Corey Judd's story of a broken window, and broken dreams, appeared in Monday's Times Colonist -- a sad tale of how his week-old restaurant, opened on a shoestring budget, had been jeopardized by an act of mindless vandalism. Someone had broken Cabin 12's plate glass window and Judd didn't have the $1,000 to front the repairs.
Judd, determined to keep going, opened the Pandora Avenue eatery as usual Monday at 8 a.m.
The first call came at 8:02. I want to make a donation -- I want to help fix your window, the caller said. Judd was stunned.
As soon as he put down the phone, it rang again. This caller was disabled, and wanted to know if Judd could pick up a donation.
And on it went, all day long, readers calling up or walking through the door. Maybe 30 or 40 people came in, handing over $20, $30, $40 at a time. The company that installed Cabin 12's locks wrote a letter, thanked Judd for choosing them and paying cash on the barrelhead -- and included a cheque equal to the price he had paid.
At one point, a large man filled the doorway and introduced himself as a bouncer with his own security company. I know what it's like to start from scratch, he said. Here's a thousand bucks.
"I'm at a loss for words," Judd said yesterday, sitting at one of the restaurant's tables. "I've never been a part of or seen anything like this." The money is up to maybe $3,500 now and keeps trickling in. Judd says he doesn't want to take advantage of people and is turning them away. "I've probably turned down about $1,200 or $1,300." Some tell him to keep the money, to give the business a bit of an operating buffer. Some tell him to help his 15 employees, many of whom were drawn from life's margins, and many of whom poured sweat equity into what Judd vows will be a nurturing, respectful workspace. Surplus donations are being diverted to the restaurant's supplier, North Douglas Sysco, whose Kick One In program benefits the Mustard Seed food bank.
"It says volumes about the community," says Judd, who looks a tad dazed by it all. He hasn't slept in a few days, kept up by a combination of workload -- the lighting and plumbing need tweaking -- and adrenaline. The staff have been shot through with energy by Cabin 12's near-death experience and miraculous salvation. "There's a feeling in here of 'how can we fail?'" Failure looked like a distinct possibility when that young man, for reasons unknown, punched out the restaurant's window and disappeared into the night. A broken window might not sound like much, but in this case it looked to be enough to push the brand-new business over the edge. Golfer Lee Trevino defined pressure as playing for $10 when you don't have a dime in your pocket; think in those terms.
Judd himself figured he was close to the precipice after his old restaurant job disappeared in March. So he used a Facebook group to scrape together $10,000 from family and friends, then depended on donated elbow grease to open Cabin 12 as a breakfast-and-lunch eatery in the 600 block of Pandora on April 10. Then came the broken window.
Then came the outpouring of support, dozens of good-hearted strangers countering the damage done by a single wanton act. Judd has written a bunch of donors' names on a white board in the back, but says he's at a loss when it comes to figuring out how to thank them.
"You're looking at someone who built something out of nothing in a month and a half and almost saw it disappear," Judd says. "A month and a half ago I was facing the street, and now my dream has come true."
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Just a few Comments From Readers:
April 25, 2009 - 11:03 AM Way to go Victoria!!! Way to go!!!!
What's really unbelievable...
April 25, 2009 - 11:16 AM ...is that some people would actually see this story as an opportunity to vent their spleen, bash the mayor (huh???), or frighten people into staying away from this establishment. Fortunately for the rest of us who still have some faith in humanity, these people can't quite drain all the sunshine from the world.
April 25, 2009 - 11:16 AM Sue, shut your cake-hole! Way to go Victoria! Maybe there's signs of redemption in this messed up little city after all. There's way too many people like Sue around here.
April 25, 2009 - 11:54 AM I hope he came up with money for insurance.
April 25, 2009 - 12:01 PM Hey Edward Columbia,How much did you chip in?Or sholud I ask,Did you chip?And Sue,You probably coulndn't handle all the possitive energy at Cabin 12 right now.I would only bet that that is YOUR loss.To bad for you!Best of luck Cabin 12 crew!
April 25, 2009 - 12:37 PM But they wont let a business safe gaurd their windows with steel shutters. This city is wack. Good on ya citizens who helped this fellow!
April 25, 2009 - 4:13 PM We live in Chilliwack and visit the island as much as possible and in the future will go out of our way to patronize Cabin 12. With all the negative crap the news media pumps out these days it was uplifting to find a story with a nice ending,Living most of my life in the Victoria I never did doubt it would end that way as the people are the greatest.Sad to see the negative comments but not surprised, "some people are born to gripe".
April 25, 2009 - 5:26 PM Good on you Victoria, and Sue why even bother
April 25, 2009 - 6:17 PM Breakfast this morning was great, from the service to the atmosphere to -- believe it or not, Sue -- to the quality (and deliciousness!) of the food. It was my first of many, many visits.
April 25, 2009 - 7:30 PM What a terrific story! I'm glad most people can see it for what it is...
April 25, 2009 - 8:35 PM I work in the food industry and that is why I wrote this! Money is very, very tight in the restaurant business and this can be a dangerous situation. I am very picky on where I eat!
April 25, 2009 - 9:22 PM Sue, aka the Food Nazi: do you boil your hands after you touch a doorknob? Do you wear a mask in public? Do you live in a bubble? I have never had food poisoning and never in my life have I given a second thought to the things you are so concerned about. Mind you, I don't eat junk food and never go to fast food places. I've got it! You own a restaurant that is in competition with Judd's place.
April 25, 2009 - 11:47 PM I'm not surprised that the community came together to help this fellow. Media or no media - this is what we do to help those around us. Now, if we could just get one of the people who was with this window-breaking moron to come forward - maybe we could get a charge of public mischief against him; and, possibly get him to come up with restitution. If he is out there spending money drinking and breaking windows he is getting his funds from somewhere; and, he should have to cough up for the window replacement. Someone had to have been with him; or, knows who he is - DO THE RIGHT THING AND TURN THIS MORON IN; or, consider yourself a condoning accomplice to the act. We are way to light on the vandals in this town. Why not let the businesses "shutter" their windows?? If we are not to make examples of the vandals; and, letting the public know we are not prepared to put up with these wanton acts; then, at least, let the businesses protect their investments. There are a whole lot of cities that allow their businesses to shutter and gate their doors when they leave at night; and, it hasn't stopped people from visiting, shopping & spending money in them when they are open. Maybe we need to rethink the security allowances for businesses - they pay taxes too; and, probably a lot more than the vandal pays!
April 25, 2009 - 11:52 PM i think he deserves all the help from people,and the bouncer guy that gave 1000 awesome person,i am going to eat there and tell everyone to eat there,and leave 20.dollar tips,cool restaurant.i will be a regular for years
April 26, 2009 - 6:14 AM as an employee of Cabin 12's kitchen, I can assure you that our staff is VERY capable of producing great food. we would absolutely not serve customers, or anyone for that matter, food that has gone bad.
Apparently TC readers are as dysfunctional in their comments as some folks in other places.....
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