Coffee shop reopening after water disaster


February 9, 2023

Ian Brandon

Patty Cakes coffee shop reopened Wednesday morning after remodeling following water damage sustained January 3.

Patty Vezaldanos is going to be 65 in 60 days, and she is dreaming about slowing down a little bit, spending fewer of her days each week in her shop, Patty Cakes Café and Roasting, which is located on Main Street in Cathlamet.

If that a was a New Years resolution, well, the new year may have had some different ideas about how she should spend her time, at least for the first 30 or so days.

The café was closed as it always is for the first holiday in January. The following day, a Monday, Vezeldanos and her staff opened up as they always do, and all was as it should be.

When she arrived around 6:30 a.m. the following day, she opened the door to a much more challenging situation.

"It sounded like Niagara Falls," Vezaldanos said, "The whole café was full of water."

Ankle deep. In the dark, it was hard to discern where it was coming from.

When the lights came on, she discovered water gushing beneath a hand washing sink.

"It was coming out so fast and furious I couldn't get my hand under there," Vezeldanos said. "I didn't know what to do."

Her thoughts were swimming. Did a pipe blow? She wondered. Fortunately, amidst the tumult and confusion, she had the presence of mind to call local plumber Rob Brown.

He came in from Skamokawa, despite the early hour, and shut off the water.

"It was the water purifier," Vezeldanos said. "I need one to make good ice, and for the coffee maker, because you don't want sediments in your coffee maker."

Nobody knows what set this in motion yet, but the insurance company is investigating. In the meantime, they paid for repairs, and loss of sales, which even covered employee's salaries.

But that day, Vezeldanos and an employee wasted no time cleaning the water up after Brown left, and opened later that morning.

She thought everything might be fine, but quietly worried about what might be happening beneath the laminate flooring, which covered indoor/outdoor carpeting.

"That's a mold factory waiting to happen," she said.

A couple days later, Vezeldanos shut the café down, and around 15 people came in and started ripping everything out, including three layers of flooring--laminate, carpeting, and linoleum.

"It took a week to dry out, but sheetrock also sucked up the water," Vezeldanos said, "and 10 inches of that had to be cut out all the way around."

Contractors were in and out. More problems were discovered, and some of them needed to be addressed by the property owner.

Ian Brandon

After all that, a secondary leak arose in an upstairs apartment, causing issues in one of the café walls.

"Let's just get all this fixed," Vezeldanos said.

"They took a little bit longer, but it worked out good," she added.

It has been a long five weeks of repairs, and Vezaldanos is ready to re-open her doors, reconnect with her customers, and show off the work that's been done.

"We've got new flooring, a 10 inch floor trim, which looks very modern, and because we had to rip out the bar to do the floor, we brought that in and modified it so I can have bar seating up there and have plenty of walking space," she said.

They were able to reopen Wednesday morning.


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