Tommy’s restaurant on Princess Street in downtown Kingston will be closing its doors for at least two months due to water damage from a major infrastructure project by the city.
Owner Tommy Hunter says the business will close down on Oct. 23.
A water pipe that services several businesses on Princess Street between Barrie and Division streets gave way in early August during the city of Kingston’s major downtown infrastructure construction project called the Big Dig.
Hunter says they initially managed to reopen after 30 hours of cleaning after the August flood.
“I mean it ripped some tiles off walls, back in our staff washroom, pretty much the bottom section of the drywall’s pretty much disintegrated, same within our liquor storage room. The water, when it actually came in — it got right under the tiles.”
After speaking with Global Kingston, Hunter said he was heading to an employee staff meeting to share the latest information he had to his 19 workers.
Insurance is covering the costs of the restaurant renovations but not employee wages.
Hunter says he doesn’t have the money to cover his employees’ wages while the restaurant is closed but he doesn’t want to lose them either.
Training new staff is expensive and Hunter says it takes a while for new employees to get a feel for the operation.
Some local businesses have stepped forward, according to Hunter, offering at least some of his employees work while the restaurant is closed.
“Autohouse Kingston has offered any time they need car pickups and drivers, you know anyone with a licence, they’ve offered some work there,” said Hunter thankfully. “May’s construction and Marksman drywall have both offered to take on a few employees temporarily for a couple months, give them full-time work.”
It’s not just Hunter’s business that is dealing with the impact of water damage.
Brian’s Record Option has been closed since the flood.
Brian Lipsin, the owner of the popular store known for its new and used records, CDs and posters, hopes to be opening in the coming weeks.
Demolition work is still taking place in the store that is pretty much completely gutted.
Late October or possibly November might be when the store opens again, says Lipsin, but that is as much hope as it is a definite timeline.
Lipsin says a lot of work still has to be done.
” I need power and then after that, I need carpenters to come in to construct my store again. After all that, everything comes back into the store and then I’ll have to make some sense out of it.”
Neither Hunter of Lipsin have a final total on the cost of the damage yet.
Hunter estimates the cost to replace tiles, drywall and more will probably exceed $100,000 at a minimum.