After three long months, Busy Beans Play Café is ready to be flooded with children, rather than just plain flooded.
The new indoor playground, located at 128-197 Warren Ave. E, will be opening on Monday, Sept. 9, after it was forced to close its doors just one day after opening on June 4 when a neighbouring unit sprung a leak and water began flooding into their space. Owners Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman said at first they were told it was “just water” by the plumber they had attend the business, but soon found out it was categorized as a class 3 flood.
“So with a class 3 flood, anything with soft material has to be garbaged,” said Wiseman. “But at first the plumber said ‘It’s jut water, you guys are fine.’ so we just got towels and cleaned it up like a normal mess. But when the restoration came in with their reading meter, they told us we had to shut down.”
“Because the flood came through the walls, but it was tracked through the place, and we wanted it to be clean. It’s a kids environment and we got pregnant moms and kids crawling on the floor,” added Wade.
This meant throwing away thousands of dollars worth of play equipment and toys, not to mention hiring a restoration company to tearing up and replace the floors, and fix the wall with water damage. All of this had to be done out of pocket as the women are still waiting for their insurance claim to be approved.
“We barely got through start-up, and then we had to go and purchase $10,000 more of equipment,” said Wade. “It was disappointing because we had all of our summer camps booked, so we had to cancel and all of those parents missed out on summer camp for their kids. Usually a play café is quite slow in the summer, but for it was supposed to be the opposite.
Both Wade and Wiseman said the process was slow-going and that it shouldn’t have taken three months to complete, but they used the time to add finishing touched they didn’t previously have ready when they first opened. The women added that they still came into work everyday despite not being able to open, because they wanted to let their patrons know what was going on.
“It was heartbreaking. By the end of July we just kind of hid, we had to stop opening the door and answering the phone, so we just put a big sign up outside,” said Wiseman. “Because the little kids can see us and they can’t come in so they’re just crying.”
Wade added, “Every day before 10 a.m. we’ve had 10 to 12 cars stopping and we’d be in and out telling them we were closed because of a flood. And the kids would get upset, so we’re walking parents out to the car trying to help console their kids. It was just so sad because it was just completely not our fault. And it wasn’t malicious, it’s a flood, it’s an accident.”
The pair said the community response to their ongoing struggle was amazing, with them receiving lots of books and toy donations to help replace what had to be thrown away. They said that this support is what helped push them through the summer.
The saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” can certainly be applied to Wiseman, Wade and their new business. Busy Beans Play Café now has multiple play structures for varying ages up to 10 years old, as well as a special section just for infants and toddlers. They also finished the space upstairs, turning it into a conference room that can be used for things like foster parents meetings with the BC Ministry of Child and Family Services.
“We are so excited to open our doors on Monday,” said Wiseman, who added they are already taking bookings for birthday parties and events such as essential oils classes and workshops.
Following their opening on Sept. 9, the café’s hours will be 9 a..m to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but Wade said this is subject to change depending on the needs of the community. They also plan on hosting a grand opening celebration one Sunday in the fall, but no date has been chosen.
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