Dipa Did It
April 20, 2014
Pepco came. Washington Gas came. Pepco installed its meter and turned on the power and Washington Gas installed its meter and gave us gas.
We completed our construction and our oven technician came from California to turn on the ovens and heat them gently to 450 degrees over two days. We made a test batch of bread in the deck oven and a test batch of little sweets in the pastry oven that grownup can walk into.
On Friday, we passed final inspections. Tomorrow we began staff training and on Tuesday we will go to the District’s building to get our certificate of occupancy. With work and luck we will open near the beginning of May.
Here is how all that happened:
Dipa Mehta is a reformed lawyer, a stay-at-home mother with young children who have started attending school. So Dipa has some time and became intrigued by Bread Furst. She got involved in our problems with the utilities in which I was mired.
With the help of Mary Cheh, our city councilwoman, Dipa inserted herself into the process. She demanded that the D.C. Department of Transportation release Pepco’s contractor to dig up the sidewalk and lay our power lines.
She demanded that the gas company send a contractor to dig up the street and lay its new high-pressure pipe.
With a lawyer’s steel nerves she gave herself an appropriate title and changed it when that would help. She called people repeatedly, often presenting ideas about how to get done what wasn’t being done.
She persuaded the gas company’s contractor to send a large crew to work on Saturday. Saturday? Even the workers themselves were surprised.
To the consternation of many, people, many, many I suspect, we were responsible for closing two lanes of upper Connecticut Avenue on Saturday to dig a trench and complete the work required for our gas upgrade.
Pepco came and installed its meter, brought lines into the store, and turned on the electricity
The gas company came, installed its meter the size of a modestly tall teenaged boy and turned on the gas.
And we were freed to begin.
On Friday we were approved on all counts by the departments that have to approve our construction and all that lies between us and opening is – our display cases.
We cannot ask the health department to come and inspect us until all our equipment has been installed and is functioning. And it is except:
We ordered three display cases from Italy and they are – we believe – in the Customs inspection process somewhere in New Jersey. We must somehow get them released and shipped here so that our construction can be completed entirely.
We’re not able so far to get very good information about why our cases are stuck or where they are or what we can do about it.
But Dipa is on it.