If there's a silver lining to seeing your business go up in smoke, it's this: Coming back even better than before.
After 375 days — a year of ups and downs and four different moves — that's now Comor's story.
The ski and snowboard shop reopened at the Tyndall Stone Lodge building on Friday, Nov. 28, one year and one week to the day a fire and subsequent water damage destroyed the commercial/residential building.
Purebread joined suit shortly after, opening on Monday, Dec. 1 and The Oracle is following this weekend.
"Our store needed a bit of a facelift and now it's bigger and better," said Comor's general manager Carlos Strachan. "Our ski wall is bigger. We put in a huge snowboard fixture... It's nice to have a brand new store too."
But it has been a tumultuous year for the owners at the Tyndall Stone.
Comor, for example, moved four times in the last year. In the 11 days following the fire, staff packed up the damaged gear and shipped it to the insurers and then moved and reopened further along the Stroll next to Billabong. That store wasn't as big so they rented a warehouse in Function Junction too.
The lease ran out on the warehouse space and they were forced to move to a new warehouse. Then the lease ran out on the store Nov. 1 and they had to pile everything into the warehouse until opening day.
Strachan credits his staff with getting through the challenging year.
He also pointed to the local construction companies as critical to sealing the deal, getting the doors open for American Thanksgiving weekend.
He has personal connections with MacDougall Construction and Alpine West Systems Electrical (AWSE).
"They were racing so that we could be the first store to open... That really helped as well," said Strachan.
"If we had just gotten someone with no relationship to the store to do those things, we never would have been able to open on the 28th."
The municipality and the fire department were also instrumental, he said.
Purebread, too, put on the push to open as early as possible. The fire doused their village location dreams not long after they opened their store opposite Whistler Olympic Plaza.
"We're back," said Paula Lamming, days before the scheduled opening on Monday. "It's kind of déjà vu."
The same is true for Kelly Oswald, owner of The Oracle, although everything in her store will be new stuff. All her staff, she added, is returning.
"It makes me feel really good," she said of her staff flocking back.
In many ways the Lammings feel as though they've done little baking this year, focusing instead on the business side of things, dealing with insurance, rebuilding, and setting up shop in Vancouver too.
"We're now opened two bakeries in two months! We're getting pretty good at it ," she said.
"We're really excited to be back in the village, especially for Christmas. We didn't get that last year... We're looking forward to it."
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