Why it’s hard to predict an opening date

By Posted in - Uncategorized on August 14th, 2008 0 Comments

The number one question we get (after “Why exactly are you opening a produce store?”, of course) is “When are you going to open?” Believe me, I wish we knew, but there are too many factors to even consider, plus factors we don’t even know about. After having two official start dates go by without the store opening, we’ve adopted a policy of not making predictions. Apparently this is pretty common in the construction business.

As a little teaser for what we’ve been going through, I’ll explain about our Herculean effort to install a mop basin sink. This type of sink is required by health code for food establishments (though the requirement is fairly new, and the restaurants on our block don’t have such a sink). We need a bonded, licensed, and insured plumber to install this sink. Our first plumber had a heart attack. Our second plumber went to apply for a construction permit from the city and was told that we need architectural drawings of the space by an architect Licensed in Illinois. This took a week and cost $1500, plus $300 for the permit, plus lost revenue for not being open another week.

Then the city said we couldn’t put the sink within three feet of the electrical circuit breaker panel, which we already knew, but furthermore said if we put it even near that part of the room we would need to have the electrical inspector sign off on it…which would require architectural wiring diagrams.

To avoid this extra time and money, we put the sink in a different, less convenient location, which requires the plumbers to lay more pipe, etc., so they are going to charge us more money and take more time. Add on to this that the plumbers have been coming “tomorrow” for the last 5 days, and finally showed up today for about an hour before leaving, and you begin to get the idea.

This is just to install one sink. Ultimately we want to install 3 sinks (the mop sink, dishwashing sink, handwashing sink) so we can have a smoothie counter, but for now we just want to open, which only requires the mop sink. And, believe it or not, there are other things we need to deal with besides sinks: 3 types of insurance, 3 banks, lawyers, accountants, waste haulers, suppliers, three levels of government, etc., etc. I’ll leave those for another day.

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